Seal of the Governor
For Immediate Release: April 26, 2019
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Alenaa Yarmosky,

Governor Northam Encourages Virginians to Participate in 17th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

Virginians can drop off expired or unwanted prescription drugs at secure collection sites tomorrow, Saturday, April 27

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam urges Virginians to properly dispose of their unused, unwanted, or expired prescription medications during the 17th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day which takes place tomorrow, Saturday, April 27, 2019. One of the easiest ways to help fight prescription drug abuse and overdose deaths is to discard any prescription drugs that have expired or are no longer in use. Virginians can drop off their expired or unwanted prescription drugs anonymously at hundreds of secure collection sites across the Commonwealth.

“The safe and proper disposal of unwanted or expired prescription medications is a simple action that each of us can take to help combat the crisis of opioid addiction and overdose in the Commonwealth,” said Governor Northam. “I encourage all Virginians to participate in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day and find a collection site in their community.”

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) sponsors National Prescription Drug Take Back Day to address prescription drug abuse, which is a critical public health and public safety issue in the Commonwealth and across the country. Unused or expired prescription medications can lead to potential accidental poisoning, misuse, and overdoses. Proper disposal of unused drugs saves lives and protects the environment by keeping these substances out of rivers, lakes, and public water supplies.  

“Addressing substance use disorder, specifically when it comes to opioids, remains a critical priority for Virginia,” said Secretary of Health and Human Resources Daniel Carey, MD. “Ensuring that unused, unwanted or expired prescription medications are disposed of properly through events like National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is a great step we can all take towards making sure these drugs don’t fall into the hands of someone they weren’t intended for.”

According to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 6.2 million Americans misused controlled prescription drugs. The study shows that a majority of abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet. Prescription drugs are intended only for the person to whom they are prescribed, and when those medications are misplaced, forgotten about, or unaccounted for, they can become a danger to others.

“We continue to seek new ways to help curb the opioid epidemic,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security, Brian J. Moran. “It is imperative that we prevent the improper use of all prescription medication to protect the health and safety of our communities.”

Prescription opioid painkillers, when abused, have similar effects to those of heroin and other illicit opioids, and an estimated 80 percent of people using heroin began by misusing prescription opioids.

During the 16th National Take Back Day in October 2018, 914,236 pounds of prescription drugs were collected nationwide.

Visit for more information and to find your nearest collection site.

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