Health

Prescription drug ‘Take Back Day’ lasts until 2 p.m.

Annual DEA event encourages the public to dispose of unwanted prescription medications and vaping products.

'Take Back Day' is a free and anonymous way to dispose of unwanted prescription drugs "no questions asked." (Photo by ERIC BARADAT/AFP via Getty Images)

On Saturday, the Drug Enforcement Administration hosted its annual prescription drug ‘Take Back Day,’ encouraging the public to dispose of any unwanted, unused, or expired prescription medications. The free and anonymous event, until 2 p.m., is intended to provide an opportunity for Americans to prevent drug addiction and overdose deaths, according to the Take Back Day website

Over 5,000 collection centers are located across the country, and – new this year – locations are accepting e-cigarettes and vaping products in the wake of growing health concerns around such products. The DEA noted that anyone returning vape products should remove all batteries first. If batteries can’t be removed, the DEA suggested contacting “large electronic chain stores,” according to a release.

“Don’t be surprised by what is in your medicine cabinet,” DEA HQ said in a tweet. “Don’t be the dealer,” and “Make your home and community safer” were among other messages the federal agency pushed out Saturday morning.

President Donald Trump released a video on Twitter in support of the event. “The opioid and drug crisis has affected almost every family in our country,” the President said. “But we have ‘Take Back Day.’ We want you to go out and collect all those drugs and opioids and everything that you have… Get rid of them. We want to clean out the United States…  Our drug crisis is always going to be a crisis but the numbers are way down and we’re very, very proud of that.”

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Mass. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a presidential hopeful, also voiced her support of the campaign.

“Millions of people get their wisdom teeth taken out or have minor surgery & don’t use all the painkillers prescribed to them,” Warren tweeted Saturday. “Help fight the opioid epidemic by safely disposing any unused opioids in your medicine cabinet at a drop off location today.”

Last October, the DEA collected a total of 914,236 pounds of unwanted prescription medication, according to the Take Back Day website.

The one-day event falls in the middle of “Red Ribbon Week” an alcohol, tobacco, and other drug and violence prevention awareness campaign observed annually and sponsored by the National Family Partnership.

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