WASHINGTON — U.S. Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) released the following statement to encourage Iowans to participate in the 17th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, April 27, 2019.
“Tragically, the opioid epidemic impacts millions of Americans and countless Iowans, either directly or indirectly, and claims more than 100 lives every day. Congress has taken substantive steps to provide support for addicts and their families during recovery and beyond. We’ve also put in place prevention efforts to help deter individuals from falling victim to this terrible epidemic. One of those efforts is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.
“Drug take back programs are a simple and effective way to stop addiction before it starts. They’re also an opportunity for everyone to help reduce the devastating impacts of opioid abuse. We encourage Iowans to find their nearest collection site and participate. It’s an easy way to help save lives in our communities.”
National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is a national program coordinated by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Its purpose is to provide a safe, convenient and anonymous way to dispose of unused prescription drugs.
In 2016, Ernst and Grassley, requested that the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) conduct a review of drug take back programs. Its report found low participation in the program due to confusing federally imposed regulations. Ernst and Grassley also urged the President’s Commission on Combatting Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis to conduct an evaluation of drug take back programs. The final report spurred increased participation in these programs from hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies through year-round unused drug collection.
Ernst and Grassley also worked with Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) to introduce the Access to Increased Drug Disposal Act (AIDD), bipartisan legislation that creates a federal demonstration program that allows states to apply for grant funding from the DOJ to grow participation in drug take back days. The AIDD Act was included in the comprehensive opioid legislation that was signed into law last year.
During the 16th National Drug Take Back Day in October, 2018, the DEA organized 5,839 collection sites and collected more than 900,000 pounds of prescription medicine nationwide. That’s more than 457 tons of drugs that were diverted from theft, misuse, and polluting the environment. Since the first national collection in 2010, the DEA has collected nearly 11 million pounds.
In Iowa, 88 law enforcement officers worked at 128 collection sites throughout the state and collected 10,444 pounds of unused prescription drugs. More than 123,500 pounds of unused drugs have been collected in Iowa since the beginning of the drug take back program.
To find an authorized collection site, contact the DEA Office of Diversion Control’s Registration Call Center at 800/822-9539 or visit http://takebackday.dea.gov and enter a city, county, state or zip code to find the location most convenient for you.