LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WJHL) – After tallying the final results of National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, the federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) announced that Americans turned in 720,000 pounds of unused prescriptions in April.

According to a press release from the agency, the workers collected medications across 5,144 sites on April 30. Since 2010, the DEA and other cooperating agencies say they’ve received nearly 16 million pounds of material.

According to the DEA’s Louisville Division, which covers Tennessee, West Virginia and Kentucky, citizens turned in over 28,000 pounds of prescription drugs across the area. Each state had its own totals as well:

  • Tennessee: 12,384 pounds
  • Kentucky: 10,307 pounds
  • West Virginia: 5,914 pounds

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, drug overdose fatalities exceeded 100,000 from April 2020 to April 2021. That count does not differentiate between prescription and illegal drug deaths, however.

“National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is an important part of DEA’s efforts to fight the overdose epidemic and save lives,” said DEA Administrator Anne Milgram. “I encourage everyone across the country to dispose of unneeded medications throughout the year to help keep our communities safe and healthy.”

DEA officials said that Take Back events serve to keep medications out of the hands of those who may steal or abuse them and work to prevent overdose deaths at no cost.