News & ExpertsMedications & DrugsPill Disposal Alert: National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

Pill Disposal Alert: National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

On April 27, almost 743,000 pounds of prescription medications were collected from the public at more than 5,800 locations staffed by state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies in partnership with the federal government. The event, National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, is an initiative by the Drug Enforcement Agency.

To find a collection site near you, enter your location here or call 1-800-882-9539.

Since the first Take-Back day in October 2010, more than 2 million pounds of prescription drugs have been safely removed from circulation. That means 2 million pounds of drugs that won’t be misused, accidentally ingested and end up in our ground water, rivers and streams.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, in homes that use septic tanks, prescription and over-the-counter drugs flushed down the toilet can leach into the ground and seep into groundwater. And in cities and towns where residences are connected to wastewater treatment plants, such medications poured down the sink or flushed down a toilet can pass through the treatment system and enter rivers and lakes. They may flow downstream to serve as sources for community drinking water. Water treatment plants are generally not equipped to routinely remove medicines.

If you can’t get to a collection spot, follow these rules for safe at-home disposal:

1) Don’t flush expired or unwanted prescription and over-the-counter drugs down the toilet or drain unless the label or accompanying patient information specifically instructs you to do so.

2) Take your prescription drugs out of their original containers.

3) Mix drugs with an undesirable substance, such as cat litter or used coffee grounds.

4) Put the mixture into a disposable container with a lid, such as an empty margarine tub, or into a sealable bag.

5) Conceal or remove any personal information, including Rx number, on the empty containers by covering it with permanent marker or duct tape, or by scratching it off.

6) Place the sealed container with the drug mixture, and the empty drug containers, in the trash.



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