Bay Area residents can help themselves and their families this Saturday by disposing of unwanted and unused prescription drugs during this year’s second National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., more than 50 locations in the Bay Area will be accepting medications for free and anonymously. The DEA offers an online search tool to help residents find the nearest drop-off location.

“Drug overdoses killed more than 93,000 Americans last year,” said California Attorney General Rob Bonta, who was in Oakland this week to promote the take back day.

“These are real lives,” he said. “We’re talking about 93,000 moms, dads, teens, loved ones.”

Bonta also addressed the current opioid drug crisis in America.

About two thirds of the 93,000 deaths, or about 62,000 Americans, died from overdosing on prescription or illicit opioids, Bonta said.

He is working to protect Californians from opioids, firstly by appealing Purdue Pharma’s bankruptcy reorganization to hold the company’s owners accountable for the role they played in the crisis.

YouTube video
(Video courtesy of Drug Enforcement Administration/YouTube)

Purdue Pharma produced OxyContin, a major opioid that has become an addiction for some and killed others in overdoses.

Secondly, Bonta helped negotiate a $26 billion settlement with the nation’s three major pharmaceutical drug distributors and Johnson & Johnson to provide some relief for people affected by the crisis.

Bonta on Wednesday called on state residents to do their part to save and improve lives by disposing of unneeded drugs properly.

Flushing drugs down the toilet can poison waterways. Having unneeded drugs around can increase the risk of misuse.

In April, Californians took almost 49,000 pounds of prescription drugs to 195 collection sites in the state.

Consumers nationwide dropped off over 800,000 pounds, and since the effort began in 2010, nearly 600 tons of prescription drugs have been disposed of properly in California, state officials said.

Bonta’s encouragement in Oakland took place at the Fred Finch Youth and Family Services Center, which helps children, young adults, and families heal from trauma and other challenges such as addiction.

Regional vice president Susanna Marshland said that the center realizes how important the take back day is because it limits access to drugs by young people, reducing the chance that youth will use drugs to cope with life.

Keith Burbank is currently a fulltime reporter covering Alameda County and Oakland news for Bay City News. He has also worked on the Data Points project for Local News Matters, finding trends and stories about the region through data. In 2019, he was a California Fellow at the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism, producing a series about homeless deaths in Santa Clara County. He worked as a swing shift editor for the newswire for several years as well. Outside of journalism, Keith enjoys computer programming, math, economics and music.