DEA Drug Take Back Day

October 21, 2020
DEA Drug Take Back Day

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is a safe and easy way to dispose of unused or expired prescription drugs.

The 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that 9.9 million Americans misused prescription drugs. Most of these drugs came from family and friends. They often came from a home medicine cabinet.

Unused medicines like opioids and others should be disposed of properly, as soon as possible. That's why the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is again partnering with local law enforcement for National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on October 24, 2020.

Why Take Back Medicines?

Reduce Drug Abuse

Prescription drug abuse is the fastest-growing drug problem in the country. The abuse of these drugs by teens often causes medical emergencies or deadly overdoses. Most abusers get the drugs from a friend or family member – not from a drug dealer. A safe drug take-back program gets dangerous leftover drugs out of our homes.

Avoid Poisoning Accidents

Unwanted medicines left in the home endanger our children, seniors and pets. Poisonings from prescription and over-the-counter medicines are rising. Getting rid of unwanted medicines at a take-back program makes your home safer.

Protect the Environment

The way we dispose of unused drugs can hurt our environment. Drugs thrown in the trash may be used by others, and can still get into the environment. Returning unused medicines to a take-back program is the only safe way to get rid of them.

What You Can Take Back

These items may be returned:

  • prescription medicines
  • over-the-counter medicines
  • vitamins
  • pet medicines
  • medicated ointments and lotions
  • inhalers
  • liquid medicines in glass or leak-proof containers (up to 12 ounces)
  • medicine samples

These items may not be returned:

  • needles, lancets, or syringes
  • thermometers
  • aerosol cans
  • empty containers
  • bloody or infectious waste
  • personal care products (i.e., non-medicated shampoo)
  • hydrogen peroxide
  • business waste

For advice on disposing of these items, call your pharmacist or local Health Department. Visit takebackday.dea.gov to find a collection site or drug treatment services in your area.