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SunOct 29

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day – October 29, 2023

In case you are curious about how to dispose of your old prescription meds, National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, which is held in April and October every year, is the most suitable event. The next event takes place on October 29. This initiative, authorized by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), helps people give back all their old and expired prescription medicines in various locations all over the U.S. The main goal is beating back the opioid epidemic in the U.S., which medical professionals say can also stem from the easy availability of such medicines in homes everywhere. So, if you’ve got a pill bottle or patch medicine, you no longer use, walk into one of these centers, and give them back.

History of National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

As new drugs enter the market and medical aid becomes available worldwide, medical waste has risen considerably in recent decades, especially unwanted medicines. It’s not just an issue in affluent countries; most of the homes on the planet have unused medication lying around. And when people don’t know what to do with drugs they don’t want or need anymore, they toss them away using the most convenient option available — usually the trash bag. However, the consequences of such rash disposal of these drugs are incredibly high. Pollution, environmental degradation, and even accidental deaths can occur due to improper medicine disposal.

Unfortunately, even as countries recognize that medicine disposal is a significant issue impacting public health, few nations have a system to deal with this problem. Countries like the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand are among the few countries with initiatives to encourage the proper disposal of drugs.

One of the significant reasons the DEA launched its “take-back” program in the United States was because of the country’s high rate of opioid consumption, which led back to the drugs present in homes that are particularly prone to misuse. These biannual initiatives held in April and October ensure anonymity and are free, mainly to encourage more people to drop off their unused and unwanted prescription medicines at one of the 4,000+ drop-off locations around the country.

Today, these programs are combined with numerous technological breakthroughs — think watches that alert you when you’ve missed a dose, allowing you to carry fewer unwanted medications — to make pharmaceutical disposal simple, responsible, and safe for everyone. Cooperation among all stakeholders, including the government, healthcare experts, concerned groups, and the general public, is a fantastic strategy for ensuring the success of such efforts.

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day timeline

2010
Take-Back Events Begin

To battle the opioid epidemic plaguing the U.S., the DEA launches the first National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day; this event occurs again in October and the subsequent years.

2017
The Opioid Crisis

Multiple U.S. politicians declare the current opioid crisis a national public health emergency, recognizing the need to employ more powerful weapons to combat it.

21st Century
Dispensing Medicines Gets Smarter

The Smart Medicine Cabinet uses technology to sense medicine usage automatically and the timing of intakes, and even inform people about the drugs patients have taken.

October 2019
Not Just Medicines

The DEA now accepts vaping devices and cartridges, and medications at all drop-off locations across the U.S.

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day FAQs

Where can I dispose of old prescription drugs near me?

Many hospitals, retail or clinic-based pharmacies, and even law enforcement facilities allow the disposal of old medications. Check for mailboxes, drop-off boxes, and other methods that clue you into the fact that the facility does indeed offer safe medicine disposal options.

Can I return prescription drugs for a refund?

Most prescription drugs are not entitled to a refund or even a return. Check with your local pharmacies and medical providers, though, as their policies may differ slightly.

Can I take medicine back to the pharmacy?

It depends on your pharmacy’s return policy. Most locations accept unused and unopened medicines for return, but double-checking before heading to the store to return your medications is a good idea.

How to Observe National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

  1. Dispose of unwanted prescription medicines

    Dig deep into your medicine cabinet for that unused and unwanted prescription drug. Get rid of it at any local drop-off points provided during these special “take-back” days.

  2. Check out related events

    There might even be events related to National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day around you, sponsored by local medical authorities, that provide resources and information about such days and why they are essential. Make sure to attend at least one, and spread the word among friends and family.

  3. Learn more about opioid problems

    This disease is not only affecting the U.S.; it is also affecting other countries. Learn everything you can about the reasons and what steps you may take to lessen their consequences on your own.

5 Facts About Prescription Medicines And “Take-Back” Days

  1. More than one day

    Aside from the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day events, multiple healthcare facilities and organizations allow people to discard medicines any day of the year at authorized drop-off sites.

  2. The U.S. produces most medical waste

    The number is as high as 3.5 million tons annually.

  3. Drugs are disposed of at higher rates

    Since its inception, the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day program has removed almost 15.2 million pounds of medication from circulation.

  4. Medical adherence is low globally

    Medication adherence, aka taking medicines correctly, is only 50% globally and is lower in developing nations.

  5. Trash it

    According to 63% of people surveyed at multiple “take-back” events, the standard medicine disposal method is throwing it in the trash.

Why National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is Important

  1. It reduces medical waste

    These events help to get unwanted, outdated, and unused medications out of our homes and into proper medical disposal or drug "reuse" programs. They are less likely to end up as medical waste, which is good for the environment.

  2. It prevents the misuse of drugs

    Limiting the easy availability of drugs in homes across the United States will reduce accidental use, drug issues, and overdoses. Disposing of such unwanted prescriptions regularly also helps alleviate the drug problem.

  3. It's excellent for the environment

    If we didn't have these drop-off locations, the unused medicines would find their way into the toilet bowl or the trash bin and eventually contaminate the soil and water. The right way of collecting and disposing of medicines can prevent them from getting into clean water sources and the environment.

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day dates

YearDateDay
2022October 29Saturday
2023October 29Sunday
2024October 29Tuesday
2025October 29Wednesday
2026October 29Thursday

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