Drug Take Back Day aimed at fighting opioid crisis

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) teamed up with several local and state agencies to collect expired, unused, and unwanted prescription pills, as part of the 15th annual Drug Take Back Day.

The event, which is held twice a year--once in April and once in October--has become an important tool in the fight against the opioid crisis.

"It takes a comprehensive approach of more than just arrests and convictions. It takes treatment. It takes prevention. It takes education of our young people to make sure they don't become addicted in the first place," said Michael Dunavant, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee.

Dunavant said it also takes providing people with an avenue to dispose of prescription drugs properly.

The DEA, along with local and state partners, collected pills outside several Memphis area Kroger stores on Saturday.

"Anything we can do to get one pill off the street to maybe save one life, that's what we're looking to do," said Lt. David Hines of the Bartlett Police Department.

Hundreds of pounds of pills were collected at each of the d rop-off sites.

Those pills were then incinerated to guarantee they won't fall into the wrong hands.

"Thank God that I can bring them here and I know they won't hurt anybody and they'll be disposed of properly," Bartlett resident Dorothy Fleischhauer said.

Fleischhauer d ropped off pills her late father had been prescribed.

She said trying to dispose of them in a different way could've been dangerous.

"Otherwise people were flushing stuff down the toilet. It ends up in the water supply. That's not good," she said.

She takes comfort in knowing she and others did their part to make their communities a little safer.

Last October, 912,305 pounds of pills were collected nationwide.

Since the event started, over eight million pounds of pills have been collected and disposed of.

Prescription medication can also be dropped off at any Memphis Police Department station 24/7, with no questions asked.

To find a permanent prescription drug collection site in your area, visit https://takebackday.dea.gov/.

Copyright 2018 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.