2019 National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day: Oct. 22, 2016

Do you have old prescription drugs that you never finished in the back of your medicine cabinet? Perhaps a parent or other family member recently passed away, and you're not sure what to do with the potentially dangerous medications they left behind.

2019 National Drug Take-Back Day

October 26, 2019

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is sponsoring National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. This program is part of an effort to offer a safe and easy way to responsibly dispose of prescription medications. If you have any prescription meds that you no longer need, or which have passed their expiration date, this is the perfect time to bring them to an authorized location for proper disposal.

How Prescription Medications Can Be Dangerous

Drugs are prescribed by doctors for various reasons to treat many different conditions and diseases. These prescription drugs cause certain chemical reactions within our body, which can do great things. Various prescription drugs can reduce our level of pain, manage hormone levels in our bodies, and kill dangerous microbes or viruses.

However, the biochemically-active nature of prescription drugs can also make them dangerous. Here are some of the ways that prescription medications may be dangerous to a person:

  • A prescription drug can be dangerous if taken in the wrong dosage or at the wrong times.
  • A prescription drug can be dangerous when mixed with certain other drugs or foods (known as "interactions").
  • A prescription drug can be dangerous to take after the drug expires, since deterioration can change its chemical properties.
  • A prescription drug can be dangerous if taken by someone who does not have the condition treated by the drug.

Sadly, many people suffer from the ill effects of taking prescription drugs in a dangerous way due to ignorance, irresponsible recreational use and even addiction. The best way to prevent this from happening to you or one of your loved ones is to dispose of any leftover prescription drugs.

Disposing of Prescription Drugs Responsibly

Preventing drug abuse and misuse is the primary goal of the DEA's National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. Sponsored by the agency's Diversion Control Division -- which is tasked with preventing, detecting and investigating the diversion of controlled pharmaceuticals from legitimate sources -- this day allows anyone to bring their prescription drugs to an authorized take-back location. The drugs will then be properly disposed of.

Prescription drugs can be brought to any DEA-authorized location between 10 am - 2 pm on October 26, 2019. You can access a list of authorized locations near you through the link below.

DEA Authorized Collection Sites

You can also call the DEA's Registration Call Center at 1.800.882.9539 for more information about the event.

Keep in mind that this is for prescription drugs only. Illegal drugs and drug-related devices or implements - such as needles, syringes, inhalers, blood test strips, etc. - are not part of this take-back day effort.

What If I Miss National Drug Take-Back Day?

If you miss the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, you still can safely dispose of prescription medications by following the steps established by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA).

  • Follow any disposal instructions on prescription drug labels. Do not flush medicines down the sink or toilet unless the label specifically says you may do so.
  • Look for a year-round DEA-authorized prescription drug collection point.
  • If you cannot take your prescription drugs to an authorized collection point, remove them from their original packaging and mix them with dirt, used coffee grounds, kitty litter, or other undesirable substances. Then put them in an unsealable bag and throw them away in your garbage.

When in doubt, you can also ask your local pharmacist how to properly dispose of prescription drugs. He or she will be able to direct you appropriately.

Authored by Curtis WeyantContributor
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Curtis Weyant has more than 20 years as a writer, editor, and communicator, publishing on a wide variety of topics, especially in the financial, legal, and medical fields. At ConsumerSafety.org, Curtis managed the day-to-day publication of all content from 2016-2019.
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