Department of Justice

ROANOKE, Virginia -  Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Virginia, Daniel P. Bubar, and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Assistant Special Agent (DEA) in Charge (ASAC) of the Richmond District Office, Christopher Goumenis, announced today that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is holding its 19th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, October 24, 2020, at locations throughout the Western District of District of Virginia. The nationwide event aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs and educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications.

“When unused medication sits in a cabinet, it is ripe for misuse or theft, contributing to addiction and overdoses,” Acting United States Attorney Bubar said today. “I applaud the efforts of DEA in providing our communities a safe mechanism to dispose of these potentially harmful narcotics, and encourage anyone with old medication to participate in this important day.”

“The misuse of prescription drugs contributes greatly to the drug problems and issues we are seeing in Western Virginia and across the Commonwealth. Disposing of prescription drugs in a controlled environment is an excellent way to ensure they are not abused, misused, and possible to saving lives,” ASAC Goumenis said. “This Saturday is a great opportunity for our Western Virginia community members to help ensure they are not contributing to the opioid crisis and keep their families safe.”

Rates of prescription drug abuse in the United States are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.

Collection sites will adhere to local COVID-19 guidelines and regulations in order to maintain the safety of all participants and local law enforcement.

Given the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency, DEA wants to ensure that the public is aware of other ways they can dispose of unwanted prescription drugs without having to leave their homes. Both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency have tips on how to safely dispose of drugs at home.

In addition to DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, prescription drugs can be disposed of at any of the 11,000 DEA authorized collectors at any time throughout the year. And at many local law enforcement agency sites.

DEA and our state and local partners throughout the area will collect tablets, capsules, patches, and other solid forms. DEA will also accept vape pens or other e-cigarette devices from individual consumers, only after the batteries are removed from the devices. If the battery cannot be removed, individual consumers can check with large electronic chain stores who may accept the vape pen or e-cigarette devices for proper disposal. Liquids, including intravenous solutions, syringes and other sharps, and illegal drugs cannot be dropped off. This service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

For more information on DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, and to find a collection site in Virginia, visit www.deatakeback.com.