The 18th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is Saturday, October 26, 2019. This event 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.

These drug take back programs reduce accidental ingestion by children, keep them out of the hands of experimenting young adults and habitual drug abusers, and out of landfills and public water supplies.

To date, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reports that 11,816,393 lbs. (5,908 tons) of prescription drugs have been diverted to take back programs across the US. It also reports the following numbers from the most recent National Prescription Drug Take Back Day in April 2019:

  • Total Law Enforcement Participation: 4,969
  • Total Collection Sites: 6,258
  • Total Weight Collected: 937,443 lbs. (468.72 Tons)

Commonly, people use their household trash bins and toilets as a means of medication disposal because they’re convenient methods, but research shows that chemicals used in medications can travel through public septic systems, waste water treatment plants, and, if thrown in landfills, these chemicals can make their way to rivers, lakes, and soils.

For example, trace amounts of drugs that alleviate attention deficit disorders and mental depression have been found in Barton Springs, the Heart and Soul of Austin, TX. Tests have also identified antibiotics, painkillers, and steroid chemicals in bodies of water and local water supplies, which pose a threat to marine life and ultimately makes their way into human life.

Also, consider what happens if you improperly ditch medications in your trash can. Not only could it go to a landfill and eventually leach into the groundwater, it can also allow potential abusers access to your personal information if name and address labels on prescription bottles are not destroyed. We all know the risks and negative outcomes involved in identification theft and this program can help solve them.

There has been increasing interest among the public and federal, state, and local enforcement agencies in developing methods to dispose of unused and expired pharmaceuticals. Drug take back programs are clearly a win-win for both public health and environmental safety so let’s make sure we all do our part this year by becoming better educated, helping to spread the word, and taking action by properly disposing of our medications using the links below!

Helpful Links:

Drug Disposal Fact Sheets

Locate a Collection Site Near You Search by zip code or city/state to find a collection site near you.

Law Enforcement Agencies Only For law enforcement agencies that wish to host a collection site please call the SPOC in your area.

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John Bushe, Managing Member

Written by

Adbongo Group LLC

Decentralized Waste Management

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