National Take Back Day is a part of the DEA initiative to limit the misuse and abuse of prescription drugs by safely and anonymously collecting unused or expired prescription medications at approved collection sites. It usually occurs twice annually nationwide, once in the spring and once in the fall. October 2020’s National Take Back Day saw:
To partake in this year’s spring Take Back Day, you can use this search tool from the DOJ to find a disposal location near you. If you have COVID-19 concerns and don’t want to dispose of medication in person, read on for information on safely disposing of medicine at home.
It is preferable to dispose of expired or unwanted medication through DEA collection sites, but at-home disposal- when done properly- is an effective way to keep unsafe medications out of your home and away from loved ones who may abuse them. In times like these it is important to be as vigilant as possible to dispose of medications responsibly.
FDA guidelines advise disposing of medicines in the following ways:
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, an estimated 18 million people (more than 6 percent of those aged 12 and older) have misused prescription medications at least once in the past year. These drugs were most often obtained from family members and friends, typically from, “the home medicine cabinet.” Considering the ongoing opioid crisis occurring in the United States, it is especially important for individuals who have unused prescription opioids in their medicine cabinets to dispose of them in a safe, effective manner, which is just what National Take Back day aims to do. The rate of opioid overdose deaths increased by 200% between 2010 and 2017 in New York State alone, according to the NYS Department of Health’s 2019 Annual Opioid Report. Disposing of your old prescription drugs is a good way to ensure that they are not ultimately misused by at-risk friends or family.
If you want to help further promote and raise awareness for National Take Back Day, the DEA provides a digital partnership toolbox that includes printable posters and pamphlets, as well as postable social media images for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. These are useful tools when it comes to spreading the word through your social media circles.
If you or a loved one are suffering from prescription medication addiction, New York State has resources that can help get you on the path to recovery.