National Drug Take Back Day will be held April 27th, 2019, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. local time. Law enforcement will pair up with local communities to take back prescription drugs to ensure their safe disposal. Held each spring and fall, this take back day offers any individual the opportunity to dispose of their expired or unused prescription drugs.


To find a site near you, visit the DEA’s (Drug Enforcement Agency) Website or call the DEA Office of Diversion Control’s Registration Call Center at 1-800-882-9439. This disposal service is anonymous, free, and safe for anyone as law enforcement have a “no questions asked” policy at their take back locations.


Participating in National Drug Take Back Day


During the last national take back event in 2018, more than 5,800 sites participated. A total of 914,236 pounds of expired, unwanted, and used drugs were collected. Since 2010, the DEA has collected 10,878,950 pounds in medication.


These statistics prove how important this type of event is. As opioid abuse remains a very real and present epidemic, disposing of prescription drugs like opioids is essential in reducing the illegal, intentional, or accidental abuse of these drugs.


Thinking about participating? The following items are not allowed at any collection sites:

  • Sharps and needles
  • Asthma inhalers
  • Mercury thermometers
  • Iodine-containing medications
  • Illicit substances or drugs (included marijuana, as federal law classifies it as a schedule 1 drug)


How Should Drugs Be Disposed Of?


National Drug Take-Back Day raises the topic of proper drug disposal. While the DEA encourages the collection of opioids and prescription drugs to avoid substance abuse, there is a proper method to dispose of these medications.


In the event that no collection sites are in your area, you can dispose of these drugs in the following way:

  • Mix medicine in unpalatable substance like kitty litter, coffee grounds, or dirt after taking them out of the original container
  • Pour the mixture into an empty can or sealed plastic pan to ensure the drug doesn’t leak into your garbage
  • Throw the container away in the trash
  • Dispose of empty packages or bottles, taking care to black out identifying information

With certain drugs like opioids, this medication should be flushed down the toilet if take back locations aren’t available. Medications like the fentanyl (Duragesic) patch should be flushed in the toilet. These patches should be immediately disposed of after use.


Alternatively, medications that can be disposed of by traditional means include over-the-counter and prescription drugs in pills, drops, creams, inhalers, patches, and liquids. Typically, prescription drugs and opioids will have specific instructions on the bottle if they should be disposed of in a specific way.


Safe drug disposal is important to limit the likelihood of drug overdose. If you have any unwanted, unused, or expired prescription drugs, make sure to take part in National Drug Take Back day by finding a collection site near you.


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