Preventing accidental overdoses by taking back old medications

On April 29, the Federal Drug Administration and local police departments sponsored a national drug take-back day at over 5,000 sites around the country. On October 2016, Americans turned in 366 tons of prescription drugs at almost 5,200 sites, states the DEA, and more than 4,000 of its state and local law enforcement partners.  Overall, in previous events, the DEA and its partners have taken in more than 3,500 tons of pills.

Last weekend was the 12th National Drug Take Back Day, held at locations across the country, including Oakland. The Drug Enforcement Agency and local law enforcement groups collect unused prescription drugs on this day as part of an effort to fight the opioid overdose crisis. The agency encourages those who buy prescription medications to return old and unused drugs to the DEA, which safely disposes of them, instead of storing them at home. This prevents accidental overdoses and poisoning, as well as environmental contamination that can be caused by flushing drugs down the toilet.

It is also an opportunity for many to clean out clutter from the medicine cabinet. “Our senior citizens, either they had illnesses where it required them to use medication over an extended amount of time and now have that opportunity to get rid of that medication,” said George Phillips, an inspector for Alameda County’s District Attorney’s Office, who helped run the take back day.

If citizens miss the take back days, held every year in October and April, there are several East Bay locations where people can return unused medications year around. Drop off points include these selected Walgreens Pharmacies:

2300 Otis Drive    (Alameda)
11565 San Pablo Avenue    (El Cerrito)
1189 Potrero Avenue   (San Francisco)
275 Sacramento Street    (San Francisco)
15500 Washington Avenue    (San Leandro)
1050 Redwood Street    (Vallejo)
2900 Main Street    (Walnut Creek)

Unused medications can also be returned to:

Alameda County Household Hazardous Waste Drop-off site (Oakland)
Alta Bate Peralta Outpatient Pharmacy (Oakland)
Department of Veterans Affairs  (Martinez)
Walnut Creek Police Department (Walnut Creek)
West County HHW Collection Facility  (Richmond)

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