Every last Saturday of April and October, the Drug Enforcement Administration hosts National Prescription Take Back Day. So last Saturday, the DEA sponsored collection sites across the country where medications could be dropped off — this includes expired medication or medication that, for any reason, you don’t want around the house anymore.
The day seems to be a success. Several local agencies reported record collections and nationwide collection seems to be over 300 tons (although official figures are not updated yet).
Taking back drugs
National Prescription Drug Take Back Day plays a critical role in promoting public health, environmental safety, and responsible drug use. By participating in this biannual event, we can collectively contribute to a safer and healthier society while raising awareness of the potential dangers associated with unused or expired medications.
“The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications,” the DEA explains.
Whether it’s through simple prescriptions, private same-day prescriptions, or on the black market, a lot of American homes have expired or unwanted medicine. This can range from a minor inconvenience to a severe temptation problem, especially with so many US households still dealing with opioid addiction.
If you have opioids (or other addictive drugs) around the house that you don’t need, they can be a source of temptation down the line.
National Take Back Drug Day is an opportunity for individuals to rid themselves of unwanted drugs safely and sustainably. By providing a safe and easy way for people to dispose of their medication, the day helps to reduce the amount of drugs available for abuse, the DEA explains.
“The drug overdose epidemic in the United States is a clear and present public health, public safety, and national security threat. DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day reflects 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.”
For National Drug Take Back Day, you can take back all sorts of drugs. Collection sites generally accept prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, and even pet medications. However, they typically do not accept needles, sharps, inhalers, aerosol cans, thermometers, or illicit drugs. It’s crucial to verify the accepted items with the collection site you plan to visit.
Safe drug disposal also helps to protect the environment. When drugs are flushed down the toilet or thrown in the trash, they can end up in our water supply and soil, potentially harming wildlife and humans.
You don’t need to wait for the event twice a year as most areas have expired drug collection points you can access throughout the year, but it’s a very good option to have nonetheless.