How the DEA is Working to Help Communities Get Rid of Unused or Expired Prescription Medications

June 27, 2024

That drawer or cabinet of old medications can be dangerous. However, it’s hard to know what to do with expired medications or medications that you or a loved one no longer takes. Flushing them down the toilet is a bad idea and throwing them in the trash is not a good idea either (remember, the labels on the bottles have a lot of personal information!). The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) helps people get rid of unwanted medications in their “National Prescription Drug Take Back Day” program, the results of which can be found on the DEA website. Since the program’s inception in 2010, National Prescription Take Back Day has removed more than 18.6 million pounds of unneeded medications from communities across the country.

Most recently, DEA special agents, diversion investigators, and law enforcement partners teamed up for DEA’s 26th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on April 27, 2024. More than 4,600 law enforcement partners teamed up with DEA at close to 5,000 sites nationwide and these communities emptied 670,136 pounds of unneeded medications from their medicine cabinets.

You can find a medication collection site by putting in your zip code on the Collection Site Locator.

Caroline Fife, MD

Dr. Fife is Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer of Intellicure, Executive Director of the US Wound Registry, and Editor of Today’s Wound Clinic.

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