The Drug Enforcement Administration will host its 25th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, October 28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This event provides an easy, no-cost opportunity for the community to anonymously dispose of unneeded medications at nearly 5,000 local drop-off locations nationwide.
For more than a decade, the DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day has helped Americans remove unnecessary medications—those that are old, unwanted, or expired—from their homes. These medications can be a gateway to addiction and have helped fuel the opioid epidemic. According to a report published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the majority of people who use prescription medication for nonmedical purposes obtain that medication from a family member or friend. Removing unnecessary medications from the home can help prevent situations involving not taking medication as intended or dosing, taking someone else’s prescription, or using the medicine for euphoric effects rather than medicinal purposes.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicts that 110,757 people in the United States died last year from drug poisoning or overdose.
“I encourage everyone to take advantage of Saturday’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day,” said DEA Administrator Anne Milgram. “It is just one of the ways we can work together to protect the people we love. The DEA is proud to work with so many dedicated state and local partners to establish safer and healthier communities.”
The DEA and its partners will collect tablets, capsules, patches, and other forms of prescription drugs. Collection sites will not accept syringes, sharps, and illicit drugs. Liquid products, such as cough syrup, should remain tightly sealed in their original container. This fall’s event will also continue to accept vaping devices and cartridges, provided lithium batteries are removed.
A location finder and partner toolbox are available on the DEA Take Back website for easy reference to nearby collection sites. Beyond the DEA’s Take Back Day, there are also opportunities to regularly and safely dispose of unneeded medications, as close to 16,500 pharmacies, hospitals, and businesses collect medications year-round. Additionally, many police departments have year-round drop boxes.