Drug Take BacksNational Drug Take Back Days started on September 25, 2010, to provide a convenient, responsible, and safe method for disposing of prescription medications, while also educating the public about the misuse and abuse potential of medications.  The most recent National Drug Take-Back Day occurred on October 23, 2021, with the following results:

  • Total participation from law enforcement: 4,276
  • Total collection sites: 4,982
  • Total weight collected: 744,082 pounds (372 tons)
  • Total weight collected all time: 15,268,473 pounds (7,634 tons)

Results from the National Drug Take Back Day prior to this occurred on April 24, 2021 and include:

  • Total participation from law enforcement: 4,425
  • Total collection sites: 5,060
  • Total weight collected: 839,543 pounds (420 tons)
  • Total weight collected all time: 14,524,391 pounds (7,262 tons)

National Drug Take- Back Days, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration, Diversion Control Division, address a crucial public safety and health issue.

Drug Diversion and Environmental Contamination

According to the Results from the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health,

Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States, 4.9 million people had misused prescription stimulants, 5.9 million people misused prescription tranquilizers, and 9.7 million people misused prescription pain medication in 2019 alone. This survey also revealed that the majority of misused prescription drugs were most often obtained from a home medicine cabinet of friends or family.

National drug take back days sponsored by the DEA provide an opportunity for Americans to safely dispose of medications and help discourage drug diversion, drug addiction and death by overdose.

Properly disposing of medications with drug take back days saves lives and helps to reduce environmental impact. National Drug Take Back Days provide an opportunity for Americans to safely and anonymously clean out their medicine cabinets and turn in prescription drugs for secure and proper disposal. While the amount of medications collected at these events is monumental, the problem of drug diversion and the opioid crisis is still an epidemic and more needs to be done.

Many people are unaware of where and when to access a drug take back event. To search for a public location in your area, you can access the Controlled Substance Public Disposal Locations – Search Utility and enter your city or ZIP Code to find a location near you.

Safe Drug Disposal Systems with Activated Carbon 

Another method to safely dispose of prescription medications is with an activated carbon drug disposal system. The DEA offers suggestions for disposing of medications in lieu of using a national drug take back event and without flushing or throwing medications directly in the trash.

Consumers are encouraged to scratch out any identifiable information on a prescription label, remove the medicine from its original container and mix it with an undesirable substance such as kitty litter or coffee grounds. This should then be placed in a sealable, empty bag or container that will prevent the medication from leaking or breaking out of a garbage bag. This is not always entirely effective at deactivating and destroying medications or preventing drug diversion.

Another method of drug disposal that does discourage drug diversion and helps to reduce environmental contamination is with an activated carbon drug disposal system. Activated carbon, also called active carbon, or activated charcoal, works by adsorption and deactivates harmful pharmaceutical waste for safe and effective disposal.

Rx Destroyer™ is an activated carbon drug disposal system which begins breaking down medications on contact and highly discourages drug diversion. Rx Destroyer™ is available in a wide variety of product sizes to meet the needs of various facilities. Learn more about Rx Destroyer™ for safe drug disposal when National Drug Take Back Days are not available and stockpiling medication is not an option.