Managing unused and leftover medications

According to the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 9.7 million people misused prescription pain relievers, 4.9 million people misused prescription stimulants, and 5.9 million people misused prescription tranquilizers or sedatives in 2019. The survey also showed that a majority of misused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet. (1)

To help address this issue, drug take back programs are available at many locations.

What is a medication take back program (Drug take back program)?

Medicine take-back programs are the only secure and environmentally sound way to dispose of leftover and expired medicines (2).

  • Ongoing drop-off programs are usually at a pharmacy or a law enforcement office.
  • Take-back programs use secure equipment and procedures to prevent theft or diversion.
  • Collected medicines are destroyed in a way that protects our environment.
  • Community demand for medicine take-back programs is high, but most communities do not have a program.

Take-back programs can be (2)

  • Ongoing drop-off programs.
  • One-day collection events.
  • Mail-back programs.
  • Combinations of these approaches.

US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) will hold their National Prescription Drug Take Back (NTBI 21) on Saturday, October 23, 2021 – 10AM to 2PM (3)

  • The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications. (3)

To find a site near you, and for year round drop off locations, go here.

For research on drug take back programs go here.

By R. Ryan S Patel DO, FAPA OSU-CCS Psychiatrist

 Disclaimer: This article is intended to be informative only. It is advised that you check with your own physician/mental health provider before implementing any changes. With this article, the author is not rendering medical advice, nor diagnosing, prescribing, or treating any condition, or injury; and therefore claims no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or injury caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the material presented.