The DEA wants your unused, expired prescription drugs

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and local law enforcement officials helped Minnesotans dispose of more than 5,000 pounds of prescription drugs Saturday as a part of a national effort to curb prescription drug abuse. 

The DEA asked people nationwide to clean out their medicine cabinets and bring their unused, unwanted and expired prescription medications to one of over 5,000 collection sites around the country that will be manned by DEA agents and local law enforcement officials.

The Hennepin County sheriff's office and DEA agents offered a drive-thru-style drop-off site outside the Hennepin County Government Center where people could drop off their pills. It was one of several sites in the metro area. 

“It’s a way to continually try to clear out our medicine cabinets of old, unused and expired meds and we dispose of them for free,” Kent Bailey, the head of the DEA in Minnesota and North Dakota, said.

The goal of the drug take-back program is to collect and destroy unused pills, including heavily addictive opioid-based painkillers such as oxycodone and Percocet.

Dr. Orlando Charry said there is a time and place for those drugs, but too often and too easily they can be abused.

"It is not a bad type of medication but just like anything else, if it is misused, abused, used excessively, then it can lead to very bad problems,” Charry said.

In the previous 10 take-back events, the DEA and its partners have taken in more than 5.5 million pounds of pills. 

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