Thousands of pounds collected in Alaska on Prescription Drug Take Back Day

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Check your medicine cabinets. Chances are you've got a few prescriptions lying around that have gone unused or forgotten. Saturday was all about safely and properly disposing of them for the 18th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, a majority of abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet.

Twenty take-back locations were spread across Alaska Saturday to collect drugs locally. It's an initiative organized by the Drug Enforcement Administration to do something about the national opioid crisis, but it's not just about keeping prescription drugs out of the wrong hands.

"Some people, they just flush them, or throw them into the garbage, and that will get to the ground at some point, and obviously it's going to contaminate our water resources and our soil, so it's not a good thing to do that. The safest way to do it, just bring them to any event that we have, you just drop them in there, and they get safely incinerated," said DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Reinaldo Lopez.

National Prescription Drug Take Back days happen twice a year. The last one, on April 27th, about 937,000 pounds of drugs were collected nationwide. More than 4,500 pounds were collected in Alaska. If you missed Prescription Drug Take Back Day, contact your local law enforcement agency to find out how and where to safely dispose of them.

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