September 27 Is Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

DEA prescription medication collection days offer chance to get rid of unused and unwanted medications

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), with the help of nearly 4,000 smaller law agencies, will host the ninth and final National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 27.

The free, anonymous event is a chance to safely dispose of expired, unwanted and unused medications at one of more than 5,200 sites across the US.

A list of collection sites is available on the DEA website.

According to a DEA press release, unused medications are a public health concern. They pose the risk of accidental ingestion, misuse and abuse.

The DEA reports that more than 22,000 Americans died in 2011 of prescription medication overdoses. And although the number of people who abuse these medicines dropped slightly from 2012 to 2013, the total number is still more than the numbers for illegal drugs like heroin, cocaine, LSD and ecstasy combined.

“DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back events provide an obviously needed and valued service to the public, while also reducing prescription drug abuse and trafficking,” said Michele Leonhart, DEA administrator, in a press release. “By taking these medications off their hands, our citizens know they have made their own families and communities safer.”

This will be the final DEA take-back day, but the DEA isn't ending the series due to a lack of response — over nearly four years and eight past take-back days, the DEA has collected more than 2,100 tons of prescription pills. The series of take-back days is ending because legislation set to take effect next month will allow certain pharmacies and clinics to become authorized collection sites.

Before this legislation, the only way the public could get rid of prescription medicines was to turn them into law enforcement. This prompted the DEA to begin its series of take-back days.

Review Date: 
September 26, 2014
Last Updated:
October 8, 2014