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City Manager's Office
Press Contact: Mary Kay Clunies-Ross, City Manager's Office, (510) 981-7008

National Take-Back allows for safe and anonymous disposal

Berkeley, California (Wednesday, September 15, 2010) - Residents can come to San Pablo Park on September 25 and safely and anonymously dispose of all unused, unneeded and expired prescription medications. The City of Berkeley and LifeLong Medical Care are inviting residents to participate in the first nationwide prescription drug take-back program.

The National Take-Back Initiative, sponsored by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency, allows residents to dispose of medication, especially those drugs which may not be accepted back by pharmacies. Home storage of prescription medications is a serious public safety issue, leading to accidental poisoning, overdose, theft and abuse.

Where: San Pablo Park
               2800 Park St. in Berkeley
Date:    Saturday, September 25, 2010
Time:   10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Cost:    Free!

Because many pharmacies cannot take them, residents are encouraged to bring medications with narcotics (opiates) like Vicodin, Percocet, and OxyContin; stimulants like Adderall, Ritalin, and Dexedrine; and sedatives and tranquilizers like Valium, Xanax, and Ambien. However, any medication will be accepted at the event. No needles or liquids, please.

No questions are asked when you drop off medications. To protect your privacy, you can empty your bottles into the bin and take them home with you, or you can black out your personal information with a marker and recycle the container on-site. You do not need to be a Berkeley resident or provide any other kind of identification.

Turning in unused medication keeps them out of the ground, out of the water supply, and out of the hands of people who may abuse them. Seven of the 10 drugs most commonly abused by teens are prescription medications, and most teen prescription drug abusers get the drugs from the home medicine cabinets of family and friends.

There is also the risk of accidental overdose. Homes containing children or the elderly are especially vulnerable to this danger and need to take preventative steps, including getting rid of unused or old medication.

Although flushing some dangerous drugs is preferable to the risk of abuse or accidental overdose, there are environmental costs. Recent studies by the Environmental Protection Agency have detected pharmaceutical drugs in our nation’s water supply.


The National Take-Back Initiative is a project of the Drug Enforcement Agency in conjunction with the City of Berkeley Health DepartmentBerkeley Police Department and LifeLong Medical Care. For more information regarding types of medication and collection sites check www.dea.gov or call BPD at (510) 981-5806.


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