Drug Take Back Day: How You Can Get Involved

Dr. Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS


The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) holds Drug Take Back Day twice every year to provide drop-off locations for unused medicines and prescription drugs. 

The next National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is April 30, 2022, from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM at locations nationwide.

Drug Take Back Day also aims to educate people on substance abuse related to prescription medications and opioids, which holds a great threat to public safety. 

Getting involved in Drug Take Back Day is as easy as bringing any unused prescriptions to a collection site. Disposing of unwanted drugs helps deter prescription drug abuse.

How To Participate In Drug Take Back Day 

Starting in the 1970s, prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications became more prevalent in treating pain relief and mental health disorders. 

With this influx came many unused prescription drugs. Unfortunately, many Americans don’t know what to do with expired, old, or unwanted drugs. 

Leftover drugs can lead to many dangers for you and others. Getting involved in Drug Take Back Day is a great way to keep prescription drugs from being abused. 

Learning How To Dispose Of Medications

The best way to dispose of unwanted medicine is to bring it to a Take Back program or event, or another safe disposal location. 

When you have identified medicine you want to dispose of, there are steps you should take to ensure you and others are protected when you bring it to a collection site. 

Take these steps before bringing medicine to a disposal location:

  • Solid drugs: Take drugs out of the container and place them in a clear plastic sealable bag. Scratch off personal information from the container and throw it away. 
  • Liquid, cream, and spray drugs: Keep these drugs in their original container. Non-solid drugs that aren’t in their original container are usually not accepted. 

Once you have properly prepared drugs to be disposed of, they are ready to be brought to a safe disposal location. 

Where To Dispose Of Unused Medications

Many people want to flush or throw away medications at home, but there are safety risks with home disposal. It’s always best to utilize a Take Back option. 

Take back options:

  • Drug Take Back Events
  • Community Take Back programs 
  • Pharmacies

Check with your local law enforcement agencies to find a community Take Back location, or contact federal law officials to find one near you. 

Some pharmacies offer on-site drop-offs, mail-back options, and other ways to safely dispose of medication. 

If you have to dispose of medication at home, make sure to first check the medicine’s leaflet; this should tell you if it’s flushable or not. 

You can also refer to the U.S. Food And Drug Administration (FDA) list of medicines that are flushable. 

Drug Take Back Day Events

Drug Take Back Events are great opportunities to get rid of old and unwanted medication. 

The DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day happens twice a year, once in October and once in April. 

If you need help finding a drop-off location near you, the DEA has a collector finder. With this tool, you can find drop-off locations five to 50 miles away from you.

Commonly Misused Or Abused Prescription Drugs 

Prescription drugs are used for a variety of reasons, such as for pain management after major surgeries and to treat mental health disorders. 

When used safely, prescription drugs can be beneficial. However, prescription drugs can be highly addictive when misused. 

Some of the most commonly abused prescription drugs include:

  • opioids, such as oxycontin, morphine, and hydrocodone, prescribed for pain
  • central nervous system depressants, such as Xanax, valium, and Klonopin, which are used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders
  • stimulants, such as Adderall and Ritalin, prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

The Importance Of Drug Take Back Day 

Drug Take Back Day has immensely helped in the current opioid crisis. The October 2021 Take Back Day brought in 744,082 lbs. (372 Tons) of medication. 

These drugs are often found and taken from a family member or friend’s medicine cabinet. 

Leftover drugs have the potential to be

  • abused 
  • mistakenly ingested by someone who wasn’t originally prescribed them
  • illegally sold 

Two out of every three opioid overdoses (about 67%) involve prescription opioids.

By clearing your drug cabinet and properly disposing of unwanted medicine, you are helping prevent prescription drug overdose

Treatment For Substance Abuse In Massachusetts

Prescription drug addiction is one of the leading causes of the opioid overdose death epidemic. 

At Bedrock Recovery Center, we have many detox and residential treatment programs that can jumpstart recovery. 

Our programs include cognitive behavioral therapy and group therapy for substance abuse disorders, in addition to other personalized services for recovery. 

Reach out to a treatment specialist today and learn more.

  1. Door County Sheriff's Office – Drug Take Back Day https://www.co.door.wi.gov/927/Drug-Take-Back-Day
  2. Get Smart About Drugs – National Prescription Drug Take Back Day https://www.getsmartaboutdrugs.gov/gsad/national-take-back-day
  3. U.S. Food And Drug Administration – Where And How To Dispose Of Unused Medicines https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/where-and-how-dispose-unused-medicines

Written by Bedrock Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Bedrock Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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