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Drug Take Back Day Helps Keep Communities Safer

Drug misuse is a serious concern that affects many Americans. According to the CDC, nearly 92,000 people died from drug overdoses in 2020. About 75% of those deaths involved a prescription or illegal opioid, but any prescription medication has the potential to be dangerous. This is especially true if it the drug isn’t being taken as prescribed.

The DEA holds Drug Take Back Days twice a year to help prevent the misuse of prescription medications. The next event is on Saturday, April 30, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

If you are prescribed multiple medications, you may have some medication around the house that is expired or unused.  Drug Take Back Day is the perfect time to dispose of it safely and anonymously. The event is free and there are no questions asked. Removing these drugs from your home can help ensure they don’t pose a danger to yourself or others.

Why Can’t I Just Throw My Drugs in the Trash?

Unfortunately, drugs can still be retrieved when they are mixed with garbage. This is not enough to deter anyone looking to steal drugs, either to use or sell. Many people who misuse drugs report taking them from a friend or family member’s house1. This includes the trash! Properly disposing of medications helps reduce access to these drugs. In some cases, it can prevent someone from becoming addicted to drugs in the first place. Curious pets and small children may also find medication in the trash. This can lead to a child or pet getting sick or poisoned by accident.

What Can I Drop Off at Drug Take Back Day?

Different drop-off sites may have different rules. In general, most sites will accept tablets, capsules, patches and other solid forms of prescription drugs or non-prescription medications. Syringes and other sharps will likely not be accepted. You also cannot drop off any illicit drugs at these sites. Some may accept vaping devices and cartridges, as long as the lithium batteries are removed.

Where Can I Find a Drop Off Location?

The DEA Take Back Day website can help you find a location in your community. You can also check with your local law enforcement agencies and local hospitals and clinics. Many healthcare organizations participate in Drug Take Back Day as a way to help keep people safer. The last Drug Take Back Day, held in October 2021, collected close to 745,000 pounds of unneeded prescriptions2.


1https://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1002922 2https://www.dea.gov/press-releases/2021/11/01/deas-national-prescription-drug-take-back-day-brings-745000-pounds

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