What is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day?

April 29, 2022 Criminal Defense, Drug Charges

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is committed to protecting American citizens from the overwhelming overdose epidemic. As a way to ensure public health and safety, the DEA hosts the annual National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

Unfortunately, unused prescription drugs often fall into the wrong hands. This could either be someone abusing the unnecessary pills, or someone selling them to others for abuse. Each year, the DEA and local police stations ask citizens to turn in unneeded medications and remove the potential harm from an overdose. The initiate is a safe and anonymous handover that brings in a record amount of prescription drugs.

This year’s National Take Back Drugs Day is being held on Saturday, April 30th, 2022. As posted on the Orange County Sheriff’s Office’s Facebook page, they have listed a set of drop-off sites to dispose of old or unnecessary prescription drugs safely and conveniently. The Tallahassee Police Department will also host their own drop-off event at their headquarters from 10am to 2pm on April 30th.

We will cover some of the statistics of opioid abuse in Florida, various drug charges, and resources around the annual DEA event.

Overdose Statistics in Florida

Since the turn of the century, Florida has seen a scary increase in opioid overdose rates. The number of deaths more than doubled from 2014 to 2016, highlighting just how dangerous fentanyl and heroin-related drug abuse has become in the state.

Florida has passed two important laws to help prevent opioid abuse and misuse. The first was the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, under Florida Statute Section 893.055. This was created in 2009 by Florida Legislation to help provide safer prescribing of controlled substances, aiming to reduce drug abuse.

The second was the Pill Mill Law on Opioid Prescribing and Utilization, under Florida Statute Section 458.3265.  This law was passed in 2011 to require pain management clinics to have medical examinations and follow-ups before and after prescribing opioid drugs for chronic pain. It also was imposed to ban clinics from dispensing drugs.

According to data from the Florida Department of Health, Florida’s year-to-date drug overdose deaths in 2020 were 7,460. The number of fatal overdose deaths from opioids was 6,089 in 2020.

Drug Charges in Florida

Florida has various drug charges that range from misdemeanors to serious felonies. There are different charges for an individual having possession of a controlled substance, illegal possession of prescription drugs, and possession with the intent to sell.

Under Florida Statute Section 893.13(6)(a), it is illegal for an individual to possess any prescription drugs without legal permission. This means that a person cannot possess someone else’s prescription pills, or receive prescription pills from someone who is not authorized to write them. The penalties for possessing drugs range from the type of drug and the amount, which can be read about in more detail on our page on drug charges.

Results from 2021 National Take Back Day

This year will mark the 22nd anniversary of the DEA’s National Take Back Day. The DEA’s website has provided helpful information about the past year’s results, and we’ve highlighted 2021’s results below:

April 2021

  • Total Law Enforcement Participation: 4,425
  • Total Collection Sites: 5,060
  • Total Weight Collected: 839,543lbs (420 Tons)

October 2021

  • Total Law Enforcement Participation: 4,276
  • Total Collection Sites: 4,982
  • Total Weight Collected: 744,082lbs (372 Tons)


Included on the Take Back Day’s webpage is a list of resources that you can use to learn more about the annual event, other drug disposals, and local agencies. The following is a list of those helpful resources:

  • Drug Database – Get Smart About Drugs is a resource from the DEA which is aimed to help parents, educators, and caregivers learn more about illegal substances and what to be aware of. The site has a drug index as well as different types of paraphernalia.
  • Drug ScheduleThe U.S. Government has categorized drugs, substances, and specific chemicals used to make drugs into five different categories (Schedules). The ranking depends on the medical use and the drug’s abuse or dependency potential. Understanding the levels of Drug Schedules is also helpful to find out the different levels of penalties if you or someone you know has been arrested for a drug charge.
  • Year-Round Drug DisposalThe S. Department of Justice’s Diversion Control Division offers year-round drug disposal across the nation. That means even if you miss the National Take Back Day, you can still go to various sites to drop unwanted controlled substances. The site allows you to enter your city or zip code and lists all the different drop-off spots.
  • Partnership ToolboxThe DEA has provided a page for people to download posters, pamphlets, and other materials to help promote National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. All materials are available for download in both English and Spanish.
  • Local Law Enforcement Agencies – Orange County Sheriff’s Office posted about the Take Back Day on their Facebook page. In their post, they listed the following local drop-off sites:
    • OCSO Central Operations Center – 2500 W. Colonial Dr., Orlando
    • OCSO Substations:
      • 1111 N. Rock Springs Rd., Apopka
      • 11000 Lake Underhill Rd., Orlando
      • 475 W. Story Rd., Ocoee
      • 2400 W. 33rd, Orlando
      • Baldwin Park Emergency Room – 2361 N. Semoran Blvd., Orlando

Finding a Drug Crime Defense Attorney in Tallahassee, Florida

The state of Florida takes drug charges very seriously. Getting convicted of a drug crime can lead to harsh consequences such as expensive fines and potential jail time. The DEA’s Take Back Drug Day is a great incentive to prevent drug abuse and make the community a safer place. However, if you or someone you love has been accused of a drug crime, it is imperative that you reach out to a skilled drug crime defense attorney in your area. Don Pumphrey and his legal team at Pumphrey Law Firm have represented clients all across the state of Florida and understand the importance of building a strong defense to your case. They are willing to stand in your corner and fight for your freedom. Call (850) 681-7777 or leave an online message today for a free consultation.

Written by Karissa Key

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