New record for AK in DEA's National Prescription Drug Take Back Day
Alaskans set a new record this spring while participating in the Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.
The event was the DEA's most successful on record, with nearly 475 tons of unused, unwanted or expired prescription drugs collected and destroyed.
At 17 collection locations in Alaska, residents turned in 4,182 pounds -- 2.1 tons -- of prescription medication.
According to a tweet by the DEA's Seattle Division, Alaskans filled eight large boxes in just 45 minutes at the Fred Meyers store on Abbott Road.
The DEA's Assistant Special Agent in Charge at the Anchorage District Office, Michael Root, said he credits the turnout to increased community awareness of the growing opioid epidemic.
"I think the community really wants to do something to help the problem, and I think this is a small way they can do that," said Root.
According to a DEA news release, "studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet."
"I keep thinking one of these days these medicine cabinets are gonna be empty," said Root, "But surprisingly enough, we keep hitting numbers."
Collection numbers from the April 28 event brought the total amount of prescription drugs collected by DEA since 2010 to 4,982 tons.
The DEA will hold another event in the Fall, and Root says there are locations that will take drugs for safe disposal year-round in Anchorage, including Providence Hospital.
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