The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) and the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) ask Tennesseans to take part in National DEA Take Back Day for prescription drugs on Saturday, April 22 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
DEA Take Back Day is a national program of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and in 2023 happens on the same day as Earth Day, observed every April 22. April is also Earth Month, with events raising environmental awareness worldwide.
DEA Take Back Day addresses public safety and public health issues. It is an opportunity to rid homes of expired, unused, unwanted, and potentially dangerous prescription drugs. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked. Sites cannot accept liquids, needles, or sharps – only pills or patches.
“This is a significant event for many reasons,” said TDEC Commissioner David Salyers. “It promotes the disposal of unused drugs from the home, and it is good for the environment, keeping drugs out of our waterways which is where they can end up otherwise. We hope Tennesseans will take part in this important opportunity.”
“Gathering up and cleaning out medications that you’re no longer taking is the easiest way we all can prevent addiction in our communities and in our homes,” said TDMHSAS Commissioner Marie Williams, LCSW. “With surging numbers of overdose deaths in Tennessee, removing unused medication from the home can help reduce the temptation of young people to experiment with opioids. From fake pressed pills to other substances containing fentanyl, it’s never been more important for parents to and talk to their children about the dangers of misusing medications.”
Dropoff locations, available year-round, can be found online in a map of 382 authorized collection sites throughout Tennessee. In addition to permanent drop box locations, Tennessee’s Substance Use Prevention Coalitions are holding more than 100 Take Back Day events all across the state. These events, in partnership with local law enforcement, are an opportunity to share the power of prevention and share community based resources. Find an event in your area at TNtogether.com.According to national research, about two-thirds of people who misuse or abuse prescription medications obtain them from family or friends.
The event this month is the DEA’s 24th nationwide Take Back Day since its inception over 12 years ago. In 2022, Americans turned in nearly 684 tons (1,368,256 pounds) of prescription drugs at over 10,000 sites operated by the DEA and over 8,000 of its state and local law enforcement partners. Those partnerships have now collected nearly 8,500 tons of prescription medications since the inception of the initiative in 2010.
More information about the takeback program is available online from TDEC, as well as from the DEA. Free and confidential referrals to addiction treatment services are available anytime through the Tennessee REDLINE. Just call or text 800-889-9789.