Otherwise known as “National Prescription Drug Take Back Day,” National Drug Take Back Day on April 25 is sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Agency. Its goal is to keep the public aware of the dangers of prescription drug use and misuse. Many Americans don’t know how to safely dispose of the prescription drugs that have been sitting in the medicine cabinet past their prime. Using these expired drugs, or using someone else’s, is dangerous and puts both the public and the environment at risk.
National Drug Take Back Day timeline
Thousands of Western European babies suffered birth defects resulting from thalidomide, a sleeping pill, prompting U.S authorities to prohibit the drug from entering American markets.
With the FDA Act of 1988, the FDA joined the Department of Health and Human Services to conduct research, enforce laws, educate the public, and provide information on drug abuse and current drug policy.
The Office of Drug Control Policy reported on the heavy use of heroin by youth and young adults.
The Drug Safety Board, focusing on issues around drug safety, formed as a collaboration between public and private entities.
How to Observe National Drug Take Back Day
Do the right thing
Deliver your expired or suspect prescription drugs to a DEA-authorized location. Whether it's a pharmacy or a national chain drop-off site, a clearly marked area with authorized representatives will accept your prescription drugs between 10am and 2pm, local time. If you have questions, log onto the DEA's website where there's a ton of information about the campaign.
Find a drug treatment center
If you or someone you know is struggling with an opioid or prescription drug addiction, take that first step to find a treatment center on National Drug Take Back Day. Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) is a therapeutic option that combines behavioral therapies with medications to heal the patient holistically. Drugs like methadone and buprenorphine are being successfully integrated into treatment plans.
Visit the DEA's Partnership Toolbox
Be a leader in the fight against prescription drug abuse. Go to the DEA's website and download their Partnership Toolbox. You'll find downloadable posters, treatment locations, and so much more.
5 Urgent Facts About Prescription Drug Abuse
It's a killer
More people die from prescription drug abuse than traffic accidents, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
It will hospitalize you
About 120,000 Americans land in the hospital each year after overdosing on painkillers.
It hits hard in rural areas
American rural areas suffer the highest loss of life due to prescription painkiller overdoses.
It leads the way in fatalities
Legally prescribed pain pills are now the number one cause of fatal overdoses according to the CDC.
It affects our teenagers
A whopping 70 percent of teens who abuse prescription drugs include lots of reasons for doing so —including the need to relax and peer pressure; amazingly, some teens don't even know why they started abusing the drugs in the first place.
Why National Drug Take Back Day is Important
It's only for prescription drug removal
National Drug Take Back Day occurs every six months. The DEA started this campaign so the public would understand how important it is for prescription drugs to be disposed of safely. That way they won't fall into the wrong hands. Illegal drugs and paraphernalia — as well as inhalers and blood test strips — aren't part of the campaign. When prescription drugs are disposed of improperly, it puts us all in harm's way.
It teaches the correct methods of disposal
Never flush expired prescription drugs down the sink or toilet unless the label on the bottle says so. Locate a DEA-approved location or do it safely yourself. Remove the drugs from the bottle and mix them in with dirt, used coffee grounds, kitty litter or something similar. Then, place the drugs in a sealable bag and chuck into the garbage can. If you're still unsure, ask your friendly neighborhood pharmacist for advice.
It helps communities stay safe
According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, over 6.4 million Americans abused controlled prescription drugs. Many of these drugs were snatched from a friend or family member's medicine cabinet. The DEA considers medications that fall into the wrong hands a safety and environmental issue affecting all of us. That's why National Drug Take Back Day urges the proper disposal of prescription drugs — and, hopefully, saves lives.