DEA’s National Take Back Day 2023

By Ashley Barnes, M.S.

What is DEA’s National Take Back Day?

The drug overdose epidemic in the United States is a national security threat to public health and safety. 

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) holds a “National Prescription Drug Take Back Day” every year as a reflection of the DEA’s “commitment to Americans’ safety and health, encouraging the public to remove unneeded medications from their homes as a measure of preventing medication misuse and opioid addiction from ever starting” (DEA, 2023). 

Last year, there were a total of 4,902 collection sites and 647,163 pounds (324 tons) of unneeded medications collected (DEA, 2023).

This year, DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is on October 28, 2023. Find a collection site near you using the Collection Site Locator.


According to the most recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of people who died from a drug overdose in 2021 was “over six times the number in 1999. The number of drug overdose deaths increased more than 16% from 2020 to 2021. Over 75% of the nearly 107,000 drug overdose deaths in 2021 involved an opioid.”

 From 2020 to 2021:

How to Help

Many people realize that they have become addicted to their prescription medications or other drugs, and want to safely detoxify to live a life devoid of addiction.

Addiction psychiatrists can evaluate for addictions, develop and tailor treatment plans to patients’ needs (which may entail medications to help patients detoxify from drugs), and provide referral sources for good clinical benefit. Psychotherapists can help patients process and work through the emotional, mental, and relational ramifications of addictions and substance use disorders. 

“Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) is the use of medications, in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, to provide a ‘whole-patient’ approach to the treatment of substance use disorders” (DEA, 2023).

Research indicates that medication should be the first line of treatment when treating addiction to opioids (prescription pain relievers), paired with counseling or behavioral therapy (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2020). Medications are also used to help treat addiction to nicotine and alcohol. Medications are used to help people detoxify from drugs in a safe way. It is important to detoxify under the medical supervision of a doctor.

Another way to help is by participating in DEA’s National Take Back Day to prevent addictive drugs from falling into the wrong hands.

Common Medications Used to Detoxify from Drugs

Psychiatrists can prescribe and monitor the use of medications in a way that helps a patient detoxify from substances. The following are common medications used to detoxify from drugs:

  • Opioids:
    • Methadone
    • Buprenorphine
    • Extended-release naltrexone
    • Lofexidine
  • Alcohol:
    • Naltrexone
    • Disulfiram
    • Acamprosate
  • Nicotine:
    • Nicotine replacement therapies (available as a patch, inhaler, or gum)
    • Bupropion
    • Varenicline

Addiction Psychiatrists affiliated with the Mental Health Center

We have several knowledgeable and compassionate physicians affiliated with the Mental Health Center who are ready to treat addiction and substance use disorders:

  • Mark Hrymoc, MD

    Dr. Hrymoc is an expert in the psychopharmacology of addiction and other mental health disorders. He is board-certified in General Psychiatry, Addiction Psychiatry, and Addiction Medicine and holds an appointment as Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA, where he supervises training psychiatrists at their Addiction Psychiatry Clinic. He obtained his subspecialist training in Addiction Psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Dr. Hrymoc is a consulting physician to several prestigious drug and alcohol treatment centers in Los Angeles. Dr. Hrymoc is also one of the founders of the Mental Health Center.

  • Kimberly Brown, MD

    – Kimberly Brown, MD is double-boarded in General Psychiatry and Addiction Psychiatry. Dr. Brown received her medical degree from USC/Keck School of Medicine and completed her internship at Cedars-Sinai. She finished her residency at USC/Keck where she served as Chief Resident of Outpatient Services and received specialized training in psychodynamic, intensive short-term and cognitive behavioral therapy techniques. Following graduation, she pursued an Addiction Psychiatry Fellowship at the UCLA/Sepulveda Valley program. She has practiced in a variety of settings including the Veteran’s Administration, emergency psychiatry, and hospital based psychiatric services. She is a staff physician at Cedars-Sinai for the Consult-Liaison department. She provides psychiatric evaluations and medication management with special attention to individual requirements. She is flexible and integrative in her approach to meet the needs and desired outcomes of each person. 

  • Vicki Kalira, MD

    – Dr. Vicki Kalira is an expert in treating substance use disorders and is board certified in General Adult Psychiatry and Addiction Psychiatry. Dr. Vicki Kalira completed medical school at West Virginia University and her psychiatry residency at Johns Hopkins University. After completing a one-year addiction psychiatry fellowship at New York University (NYU), she supported hospitalized patients at NYU-Tisch Hospital as a Consultation-Liaison Psychiatrist. Here, her focus centered on providing care to patients with complex medical and psychiatric comorbidities who were experiencing acute intoxication or withdrawal. Dr. Kalira then transitioned to the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), where she still provides crucial psychiatric support. Dr. Vicki Kalira is the Acting Medical Director for Addiction Recovery Treatment Services at the VA Northern California Health Care System, a critical leadership role.

  • Daniel Son, MD

    – Dr. Daniel Son is unique in having completed formal fellowship training in both Child & Adolescent and Addiction Psychiatry. He has a particular interest in the treatment of severe mental illness and adolescents with addiction issues. Dr. Son completed his medical degree at Loma Linda University and completed his Psychiatry residency and fellowships at the University of Louisville. Dr. Son focuses on providing thorough diagnostic interviews and providing medication management services. Dr. Son has received numerous awards during his training including the Gold Foundation Humanism and Excellence in Teaching Award, the Eli Lilly Chief Resident Leadership Program Award, and has several clinical and education awards.

  • Ellie Mizani, MD

    – Dr. Ellie Mizani is a psychiatrist specializing in child and adolescent psychiatry and addiction medicine. She is board-certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Dr. Mizani completed her undergraduate and medical studies at UC Irvine. She also completed her psychiatric and child and adolescent psychiatry subspecialty training at the UC Irvine Medical Center. During the last year of her child psychiatry training, Dr. Mizani served as Chief Fellow and graduated with commendation. Dr. Mizani also trained at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA, focusing on pediatric psychopharmacology for ADHD, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and autism. Dr. Mizani is also one of the founders of the Mental Health Center.

Please contact our office at (310) 601-9999 or visit our Mental Health Center website to schedule an appointment today!


  • Collection Site Locator – find a location near you where you can dispose of unneeded medications on Take Back Day.



Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2023, August 8). Understanding the Opiod Overdose Epidemic. Retrieved October 26, 2023, from

Drug Enforcement Administration (2023). Take back day. Take back day. Retrieved October 26, 2023, from

National Institute on Drug Abuse (2020). Drugs, brains, and behavior: the science of addiction. Retrieved October 26, 2023, from,addiction%20to%20alcohol%20and%20nicotine.