What You Need to Know About National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

The current climate with prescription pill abuse is tense to say the least: America is in the midst of combating an opioid epidemic, one that has claimed 42,249 lives of the 64,000 drug overdose deaths in 2016.

Given the current status, lawmakers and citizens have been active in their communities, helping raise awareness and education of addiction, with local programs such as HealingNYC and TN Together, and the national program The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act 2.0, allocating $6 billion to combat opioid addiction.

One of these educational programs is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, falling on April 28th, which aims to provide a safe and responsible means of disposing prescriptions drugs, and educate the general public about abuse of prescription medications.

When prescription drugs are kept in a household, they can go beyond the intended recipient’s possession, affecting family members, friends, and trickling their way into illegal possession and distribution. One way to avoid this scenario is to safely keep and dispose of medication, ensuring it does not fall into anyone else’s hand besides the intended recipient.

How To Dispose of Prescription Medication

Per the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), it is recommended to eliminate expired or unused medicines from a home as quickly as possible to avoid unintended use.

The preferred method is through medicine take-back programs such as periodic events and permanent collection sites; to check out a collection site location by you, click this link.

If there are no available take-back programs or DEA-registered collectors available in your area, and no specific disposal instructions on a medication, it is recommended to follow these simple steps per the FDA:

  • Mix medicines (do not crush) with an unattractive substance such as used coffee grounds, dirt, or animal litter
  • Place the mixture in a sealable container
  • Place the sealed container in the trash
  • Eliminate all personal information on the prescription label, and place in the trash

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is April 28th: Things You Need to Know

Some medications have specific instructions to immediately flush down the toilet should take-back options not be available.

Tips for Keeping Prescription Medications Out of Reach of Unintended Users

If you do have an active prescription, it is recommended to practice safe medication storage, both while at home and while out and about; the below tips from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) can help keep your loved ones safe.

  • Keep medication out of the sight and reach of children
  • Put medicine away after each and every use (even if you will use it again after a few hours)
  • Ensure the safety cap is locked and you hear the “click” noise
  • Teach your family about medicine safety
  • Tell your guests about your medication safety policy
    • Unattended bags, purses, and coats could contain medication
  • Know who to contact
    • Poison Control Center: (800) 222-1222
    • Emergency Medical Assistance: 911

Medicine Safety for Children Infographic

With these tips, you can help keep your friends and family safe from accidental ingestion, overdose, medical issues, and medicine poisoning. For additional information and resources, check out the links below!


Related at Care2

Image via Thinkstock.


Marie W
Marie W4 months ago

Thank you.

Winn A
Winn A9 months ago

I gave my prescriptions drugs back today at our police station. So glad they are gone

ANA MARIJA R9 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

Mike s
Mike s9 months ago

flushing down the toilet, then going into the water supply, or the sea, please no,

Debbi W
Debbi W9 months ago

I'll dump my old ones in with what I scoop from the cat litter.

Anne M
Anne M9 months ago

I need all my prescription drugs,, so no take-back for me... - I mean,, who doesn't need their meds ??

Danii P
Past Member 9 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

Cathy B
Cathy B9 months ago

Helpful. Thank you.

Angela J
Angela J9 months ago


Janet B
Janet B9 months ago