Got Drugs?


If you have a collection of unwanted, unneeded, or expired prescription drugs, you can safely, responsibly and easily get rid of them this weekend.

The 10th National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day will take place September 26th from 10 am-2 pm local time in every state but Pennsylvania and Delaware (in those two states, the drug take-back date was September 12.)

As with the previous nine Take-Back events, collection sites will be set up throughout communities nationwide so local residents can drop off their drugs. You can find the collection sites near you by visiting this web page, or calling 1-800-882-9539.

The National Prescription Drug Take-Back addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Many Americans are not aware that medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse, said DEA Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg in a statement.

Studies show that many abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, many Americans do not know how to properly dispose of their unused medicine, often flushing them down the toilet or throwing them away – both potential safety and health hazards.

“Prescription drug abuse is a huge problem and this is a great opportunity for folks around the country to help reduce the threat,” Rosenberg said.  “Please clean out your medicine cabinet and make your home safe from drug theft and abuse.”

If you’re busy this Saturday (or live in Delaware/Pennsylvania) you don’t have to hang onto those drugs until the next Take-Back event. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises consumers who want to clear out their medicine cabinets to follow disposal instructions on the drug label or information sheet that accompanies the medication.

Most drugs can be thrown in the household trash. But “consumers should take certain precautions before tossing them out,” according to the FDA. You should take drugs out of their original containers and “mix them with an undesirable substance, such as used coffee grounds or kitty litter” before tossing them in the trash. This way the medication will be less appealing to children and pets, and to people who may intentionally go through your trash looking for drugs.

The FDA also suggests that you scratch out all identifying information on a prescription label before discarding the bottle, to protect your privacy.

A few specific types of drugs – such as narcotic pain relievers and other controlled substances – should be flushed down the toilet rather than put into the trash. But do not flush prescription drugs down the toilet unless the label or patient information sheet specifically instructs you to do so.

You can bring any type of prescription drug to a Take-Back event, and many people do. Last year, 617,150 pounds (309 tons) of unwanted prescription drugs were collected at 5,495 sites nationwide.  This brought the total amount of drugs collected in the four years since Take-Back Day was instituted to 4,823,251 pounds, or 2,411 tons. If you want to see the state-by-state poundage breakdown from 2014, check out the map here.

And if you are struggling to afford necessary prescriptions, :DentalPlans offers plans that provide significant discounts on prescription medications and other health and wellness products. Get the details on our plans here.


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