CHARLESTON, W.Va. — More than 150 locations in West Virginia will serve as drop off points for expired, unused or unneeded prescription drugs during the Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.
“The common, average citizen needs to be ever vigilant about what’s in their medicine cabinet,” said Matt Baker, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Region III director.
Hours for drug collections on Saturday, April 27th were scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The DEA’s list of participating locations in West Virginia is available HERE.
During the 16th National Take Back last October, upwards of 457 tons of prescription drugs were collected at thousands of locations nationwide, including those in West Virginia, instead of being diverted, misused or abused.
“That’s the equivalent of more than the weight of three Boeing 757s,” said Baker.
“We know (that amount) is probably a small percent of the overall potential of every household, if they were to go in and clean out their medicine cabinets, we could probably double or maybe even triple that amount.”
A White House appointee, Baker has served as regional director since Feb. 2018. He’s visited West Virginia three times as part of Washington delegations.
Along with the Mountain State, his district includes Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia as well as seven recognized tribes.
He previously served in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for 25 years.
In his current position with DHHS, Baker has a role in a broad approach to the opioid epidemic across the U.S.
The overall plan addresses improved access to prevention, treatment and recovery services; data collection; targeting of overdose drugs; pain management and research on pain and addiction.
Drug take backs are one component.
The goal, Baker said, was to eventually be able to offer drug take backs every day.
“We promote this event nationally twice a year with the cooperation of DEA and so many other partners, but we really want people to understand that we need to be ever vigilant,” he told MetroNews.
Over 16 total National Take Back events, almost 11 million pounds of prescription drugs have been collected, according to information from DHHS.