Nearly 10 million Americans misused controlled prescriptions in 2018, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. A majority of abused drugs were obtained from family and friends – often from home medicine cabinets.
As part of its upcoming National Prescription Drug Takeback Day, the DEA launched a public service announcement about the dangers of keeping unused or expired prescriptions, with the message: “Keep them safe. Clean them out. Take them back.”
Unused medicines should not be flushed down the toilet or thrown in the garbage—both practices can pose potential safety and health hazards. Instead, dispose of them at DEA-sponsored sites from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, no questions asked. The DEA can’t accept needles or illicit drugs. Click here to find a drop-off site near you.
For the first time, the DEA will accept vaping devices and cartridges at any of its drop off locations, but can’t accept devices containing lithium ion batteries. If batteries can’t be removed prior to drop-off, the agency recommends individuals consult with stores that recycle lithium ion batteries.
“DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Initiative helps get unused and unwanted prescription medications out of circulation and ensures their safe disposal,” said Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon in a statement. “This year, we are taking a step further by accepting vaping devices and cartridges as we work with our federal partners to combat this emerging public health threat to the nation’s youth.”
More than 35,000 pounds of medications were collected across the state during April’s national takeback day. Nationally, the DEA has collected more nearly 10 million pounds of pills over the course of seven years from such events.
Note: This story was first published on Oct. 21, 2019. It has been updated.