This Saturday, April 28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Bellevue Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public its 15th opportunity in 7 years to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. Bring your pills for disposal to the Bellevue Police Department lobby at Bellevue City Hall, the Bellevue Police Crossroads Substation, or the Bellevue Police Factoria Substation inside Factoria Mall (The DEA cannot accept liquids or needles or sharps, only pills or patches.) The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.
Last fall Americans turned in 456 tons (912,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at more than 5,300 sites operated by the DEA and almost 4,300 of its state and local law enforcement partners. Overall, in its 14 previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in more than 9 million pounds—more than 4,500 tons—of pills.
This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that sit unused in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines—flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash—both pose potential safety and health hazards.