In just 4 hours on Saturday April 28th, people across the U.S. returned almost 1 million pounds of leftover and expired medicines for safe disposal. The 15th National DEA Drug Take-Back Day netted 949,046 pounds of drugs or 475.5 tons!  Complete results of the collection event, with state-by-state break-out is available from the DEA at

Washington state residents dropped off 17, 018 pounds of medicines on April 28th.  63 local law enforcement agencies in Washington provided 70 collection sites.  Thanks to our local law enforcement who provided this great community service!

The image shows collection amounts in WA from the first DEA-coordinated event in the fall of 2010 until last month’s event. Collection amounts have increased, or stayed constant, even while the number of collection sites hosted by law enforcement have been decreasing. The recent April 2018 event brought in about 2,000 pounds more medicines than the two events held in the spring and fall of 2017 in Washington State. The DEA event collection amount also does not include all the medicines collected at many ongoing drug drop boxes. Participation in the DEA events by law enforcement is dropping off in part due to the increase in more medicine drop-off locations that provide year-round service.

The DEA collection events have been fantastic for raising public awareness and providing a safe disposal option!  But 1-day collection events are not as convenient for residents as ongoing drop boxes in local pharmacies or police stations.

Many communities in WA have ongoing medicine drop boxes at pharmacies or police stations. These are available any day for secure and environmentally sound medicine disposal. In some areas, prepaid return mailers are also available for residents with limited mobility.  My handout describes drug take-back options in Washington State, including information on the convenient MED-Project programs provided by pharmaceutical manufacturers that are now operating in King, Kitsap, Pierce, and Snohomish counties.

More information about drug take-back laws in Washington State is here: