General Crime

National Drug Take-Back Events Collecting Tons of Unwanted, Expired Prescription Drugs

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Bay Area residents will have a chance to safely dispose of unused, unwanted and expired prescription drugs at dozens of local sites at Saturday’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is partnering with local police and sheriff’s departments and other community and health groups to host collection sites in cities throughout the region where residents can drop off prescription drugs. Saturday’s take-back event is the seventh event the DEA has held.

At the last event in April, dozens of Bay Area locations collected 18 tons of drugs, DEA San Francisco field division spokesman Karl Nichols said. The event is held nationwide twice a year, with 220 collection sites throughout Northern California, Nichols said. At the last event 2.8 million pounds of prescription drugs were collected throughout the country, Nichols said. This year the DEA is teaming up with Kaiser Permanente, which has 10 Bay Area locations where residents can drop off items. Participants are asked to drop off any prescription drugs in tablet or capsule form that are unwanted or expired, sitting in medicine cabinets.

Liquids and syringes will not be accepted at the collection sites, he said. The event aims to help cut back on prescription drug abuse and the dangers of keeping the drugs around with easy access for children and addicts. “We are making the public aware that this is a problem,” Nichols said. “Prescription drugs can be as dangerous or more so than street drugs.” Drop-offs can be made between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. There will be collection areas in Pleasanton, San Francisco, San Rafael, Fremont, Livermore, Santa Clara, San Jose, Vallejo, Danville, Newark, Martinez, Orinda, Richmond, Oakland, Hayward, Fairfield, among many other Bay Area locations. Collections sites can be found on the DEA website at dea.gov.

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