Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson


From left to right: Kennewick Police Chief  Ken Hohenberg, Attorney General McKenna, DEA Agent in Charge Ray Lopez (admiring the haul) and Kennewick Police Captain Trevor White.

Congratulations to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for a job well done! The second national drug take-back event was a huge success. Their prescription drug take-back campaign encouraged people to bring their unused or expired medications to thousands of collection sites throughout the country. On April 30, Washingtonians responded in a big way. According to the DEA, 8,535 pounds of medications were returned to 75 collection sites in Washington.

A combined 24,053 pounds of medicine were collected in the four-state area of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska. 

“The success of this campaign is attributed to the responsible citizens that took the time to clean out their medicine cabinets," said Mark Thomas, DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge.  "The close cooperation of many state/local law enforcement agencies and community leaders has dramatically made our communities safer by reducing the availability of abused prescription drugs.” 

Attorney General McKenna attended the take-back event at the Kennewick Police Department, where over 400 pounds of pills were collected. If sold on the black market, those drugs could fetch about $250,000, according to the DEA.

"A growing number of people understand the threat posed by unused drugs left in medicine cabinets," McKenna said. "Having attended the Seattle event last year, and Kennewick this year, I've seen firsthand the demand for safe drug disposal options. We'll continue to work with legislators, retailers, law-enforcement, drug companies and others to make sure that the need is met."

More than 376,593 pounds (188 tons) of medications were returned to more than 5,000 sites nationwide -- 55 percent more the last event last September.

“The amount of prescription drugs turned in by the American public during the first two Take-Back events is simply staggering—309 tons—and represents a clear need for a convenient way to rid homes of unwanted or expired prescription drugs,” said DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart.

Miss Take-Back Day but still have medications to dump? You have options. First, you may search for year-round take-back locations (times, locations and costs vary). You can also learn about safer at-home disposal methods on our RxIQ page.

-Dan Sytman-