State police taking back unwanted prescription drugs

Published 6:08 pm Thursday, April 25, 2019

By Sgt. Michelle Anaya


On Saturday, April 27, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Virginia State Police and the Drug Enforcement Administration will give the public its 17th opportunity to participate in the National Drug Take-Back Initiative to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.

The Virginia State Police are hosting sites at Division Headquarters across the state. You can bring your pills for disposal to a collection site near you. To locate a collection site near, simply go to the DEA website site. You can search by zip code for a collection site near you or call. (The DEA cannot accept liquids or needles or sharps, only pills or patches.) The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked. In Western Tidewater, this is at the Isle of Wight Sheriff’s Office on Courthouse Highway.

Last October, Americans turned in over 5,439 tons (over 10,878,950 pounds) of prescription drugs at more than 5,800 sites operated by the DEA and more than 4,770 of its state and local law enforcement partners. Overall, in its 10 previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in over 5.5 million pounds, more than 2,750 tons of pills.

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs.

Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines, flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash both pose potential safety and health hazards.

For more information about the disposal of prescription drugs or about the Take Back Day event, go to the DEA Diversion Website.

SGT. MICHELLE ANAYA is a spokewoman for the Virginia State Police. Contact her at