Lori Swanson, Minnesota attorney general, and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) are calling on Minnesota’s residents to participate in the 14th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day Oct. 28. Law enforcement agencies are participating in at least 90 locations statewide.

“There were more opioid-related deaths last year than the year before. Safely disposing of prescription drugs that are no longer needed keeps them from being diverted or abused or being accidentally swallowed by children,” said Swanson.

“This program allows the public to properly dispose of unused, unneeded or expired medications and narcotics free of charge. These unwanted medications often find their way into the illicit drug supply and significantly contribute to the abuse epidemic that currently plagues our country and destroys lives,” said Kenneth Solek, assistant special agent in charge of the DEA’s Minneapolis-St. Paul District office. 

Swanson noted that leaving unnecessary medications around the home increases the chance of young children accidentally ingesting them. Nearly 12,000 children a year are poisoned from exposure to prescription opioids. About 60 percent involve children age five or younger.

More than 100 law enforcement agencies across Minnesota participated in the previous Drug Take Back Day in April 2017 (up from 21 collection sites in April, 2016) and collected nearly 9.3 tons (18,508 pounds) of prescription drugs, a 215 percent increase from the previous year’s collection.

Take Back Day events will be held in 90 locations across the state Oct. 28. Most events run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. A complete list of event locations is available on the DEA’s Web site at www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov. Participating agencies can be also found at doseofreality.mn.gov.

Many law enforcement agencies and pharmacies have drug-collection receptacles that are available year round, including at the Law Enforcement Center in Redwood Falls. Safe disposal of unneeded or unwanted medications can be an important tool in the fight against prescription drug abuse, since 70 percent of people who abuse prescription drugs obtain them from friends or family, sometimes without their knowledge.

Photo courtesy of the Internet public domain