Record-setting number of pills collected on Drug Take Back Day

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WYTV) – There were nearly 18 tons of unused pills collected in Ohio on Drug Take Back Day.

Now in its 8th year, the event continues to remove ever-higher amounts of opioids and other medicines from homes, where they could be stolen and abused by family members and visitors, including children and teens.

Nationwide, a record-setting 456 tons of pills were collected. That is almost six tons more than was collected at last spring’s event, bringing the total amount of prescription drugs collected by DEA since the fall of 2010 to 9,015,668 pounds, or 4,508 tons.

Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. DEA launched its prescription drug take back program when both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration advised the public that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines—flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash—posed potential safety and health hazards.

The DEA action comes just days after President Donald J. Trump announced the mobilization of his entire Administration to address drug addiction and opioid abuse by directing the declaration of a Nationwide Public Health Emergency to address the opioids crisis.

“More people start down the path of addiction through the misuse of opioid prescription drugs than any other substance. The abuse of these prescription drugs has fueled the nation’s opioid epidemic, which has led to the highest rate of overdose deaths this country has ever seen,” said Acting Administrator Robert W. Patterson. “This is a crisis that must be addressed from multiple angles.  Educating the public and removing these medications from households across the Unites States prevents misuse where it often starts.”

The next Drug Take Back Day is scheduled for April 28, 2018.

Complete results for DEA’s fall Take Back Day are available at