As Drug Overdoses Rise Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, Attorney General Becerra Encourages Californians to Participate in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day
SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, alongside California Sheriffs’ Association President Dave Robinson, California Police Chiefs Association President Eric Nuñez, Sacramento Chief of Police Daniel Hahn, and San Francisco Chief of Police William Scott, today encouraged Californians to take part in the 19th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day this Saturday, October 24, 2020. The effort, led by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), in partnership with local law enforcement agencies, aims to provide a safe and responsible way to dispose of prescription substances, such as opioids, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of prescription drug medications. This year, Prescription Drug Take Back Day has become particularly important as drug overdose deaths have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program reports that national suspected overdoses rose 18 percent in March 2020, 29 percent in April, and 42 percent in May compared to those same months in 2019.
“COVID-19 may be dominating the headlines in 2020, but we must remember that the pandemic is running parallel to the opioid public health crisis in our state and country,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Expired or unused medications have become an even greater problem than in previous years, as individuals and families continue to spend more time at home, forgo care, and struggle with the stress of the pandemic and economic uncertainty. Prescription Drug Take Back Day gives Californians the opportunity to safely dispose of these medications to protect themselves and their loved ones from the dangers of substance abuse.”
On Saturday, October 24, 2020, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., California will have sites around the state to collect unwanted, unused or expired prescription drugs. This service is free and anonymous for all Californians. For more information and to find the closest collection site to you, please visit: Takebackday.dea.gov
Last year, over 56,000 pounds of prescription drugs were dropped off at 336 collection sites in California alone. Nationally, 6,349 tons of pharmaceuticals have been collected over the last 18 Prescription Drug Take Back Days.
Today’s announcement is part of an ongoing effort by Attorney General Becerra to protect Californian communities and fight the opioid crisis. This year, the Attorney General announced a $1.6 billion global settlement framework between state attorneys general, local subdivisions, and opioid manufacturer Mallinckrodt over the company’s participation in the opioid crisis. In September 2017, the Attorney General expanded his investigation of pharmaceutical manufacturers and the three largest distributors of opioids to determine if the companies engaged in unlawful practices in the marketing, sale, and distribution of opioids. That investigation is ongoing. The California Department of Justice also maintains California’s prescription drug monitoring program, CURES 2.0, which assists in efforts to curb prescription drug abuse.