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Helping to Keep Medication Out of the Environment and Out of the Wrong Hands

Loudoun County is a little safer today as a result of the recent partnership between Covanta Environmental Solutions and the Loudoun County Virginia Sheriff’s Office. October 24 was the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. At this year’s event, Loudoun County law enforcement agencies collected over 1427 pounds of medication.


During this year’s event, Covanta donated and distributed consumer waste mail-back envelopes to citizens at collection sites with officers throughout the county. The envelopes provide a convenient way for residents to safely dispose of medications at no cost, without ever leaving home.

“Recent research has shown that a majority of Americans using heroin were introduced to opioids through prescription medication. It is imperative we remove any unused and unwanted medications from our homes, as most opioid users often get access to prescription medications from friends and relatives,” said Sheriff Michael Chapman.

The envelopes are received at one of Covanta’s DEA-registered reverse distribution sites, bound for eventual destruction. Covanta has over 25 years of experience in pharmaceutical waste management. With adherence to strict federal guidelines and a network of more than 40 Waste-to-Energy facilities, Covanta destroys thousands of tons of controlled substances annually.

“Covanta is proud to help the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office in collection efforts on National Prescription Drug Take Back Day,” said David Cali, director of DEA compliance for Covanta. “This important day sheds a much-needed light on the need for proper disposal outlets for items that many of us have sitting in our medicine cabinets. By taking the extra step to ensure expired and unwanted medications are securely destroyed, residents can rest assured that they will pose no harm to the environment and the community.”

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is a biannual, collaborative effort between the DEA, state and local law enforcement agencies. Its continued practice is representative of the monumental effort to keep expired and unwanted medication out of the hands of the most vulnerable and out of our waterways.

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