Record 1 million pounds collected on prescription drug take-back day

Justice officials say close to one million pounds — nearly 475 tons — of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs were collected for Drug Take Back Day.

Officials say the nationwide event is part of an effort to help prevent people from becoming addicted to prescription medication.

“Today we are facing the worst drug crisis in American history, with one American dying of a drug overdose every nine minutes,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement. “An unprecedented crisis like this one demands an unprecedented response — and that’s why President Trump has made this issue a priority for this administration. DEA’s National Drug Take Back Days are important opportunities for people to turn in unwanted and potentially addictive drugs with no questions asked. These Take Back Days continue to break records. … I have no doubt it will help keep drugs out of the wrong hands and stop the spread of addiction.”

People in the states of Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Alaska, turned in nearly 40,100 pounds of medication, The Washington Times reported. The paper reported that Texas and California ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the country with the largest collections. Nearly 83,000 pounds of medication was collected in Texas, while roughly 70,000 pounds were returned in California.

The Trump administration has pushed for citizen involvement, acknowledging the continuing opioid epidemic as a major reason for people to take part, according to The Washington Examiner.

“We have to get really, really tough, really nasty — whatever it takes, because we have to keep them out of our country, out of our communities,” Trump said in his weekly address on April 27.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.