AVONDALE, Ariz. – The DEA hosted its 14th drug take-back event just days after President Donald Trump declared opioids a public health emergency.
The DEA doesn’t want addictive medications just hanging out in your home
There's the wrong way to get rid of unused or expired medications, said Erica Curry, from the DEA.
"Unfortunately, we've had a lot of people flush them down the toilet historically,” she said. “That's probably the worst thing you can do."
But there's a right way, by taking them to the drug take-back event hosted twice a year since 2010.
"I think it's critically important now with the opioid crisis we're all facing as a nation, to dispose especially of those drugs which are highly addictive,” said Curry.
That’s what many people did at a Avondale drop-off location as part of a nationwide efforts to clear medicine cabinets.
“We dropped off seven pounds. That's not counting any containers. That's just pills,” said Susan Sjostrom, who represented her whole retirement community. "I collect outdated prescriptions from folks as soon as I know what the dates are."
So many things can go wrong with keeping medications in the home: You could take the wrong pill on accident, or someone else could get their hands on them—including young children. That could lead to accidental overdoses or poisonings, according to the DEA.
"In Arizona, we had last year 791 deaths ... as a result of opioid overdoses,” Curry said. “That's one too many in my opinion."
Across the country, 64,000 people died from overdoses in 2016.
The DEA has collected more than 8 million pounds of drugs since it started this campaign, trying to solve an opioid crisis.
"I hope it will get better soon. So, I'm trying to do my part in making sure the medications don't get in the wrong hands,” said Sonya Beavers.