National Take-Back Day – Have you disposed unused expired drug?


How many of you have expired unused prescribed or generic drug in your medicine cabinet or box?  I would bet most of us have it.  The United States Department of Justice and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) have started a new program that is called National Take-Back Day and Sept 25 is the designated date.  As per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)  this drive is intended to get rid of potentially dangerous controlled prescription drugs.

What is National Take-Back Day?
Sep 25 was the very first US National Take-Back day to.  DEA designated more than 4000 locations and the collection activities took place 10.00 AM – 2:00 PM. You can find your nearest location by visiting DEA website.  As per the DEA website:

This one-day effort is intended to bring national focus to the issue of increasing pharmaceutical controlled substance abuse.

  • The program is anonymous.
  • Prescription and over the counter solid dosage medications, i.e. tablets and capsules accepted.
  • Intra-venous solutions, injectables, and needles will not be accepted.
  • Illicit substances such as marijuana or methamphetamine are not a part of this initiative.

What is the motivation behind National Take-Back day?
It is impo rtant that you realize unwanted or expired prescription drugs can be accidently used, especially by children which can cause major health issues, even death.  As per the FDA:

  • accidental exposure to drugs in the home is a major source of unintentional poisonings in the United States.
  • in 2007 that 255,732 cases of improper medicine use were reported to Poison Control Centers.
  • Of them, 23,783 cases involved accidental exposure to another person’s drug and about 5000 cases involved children ages 6 years or younger.

You would think that the the child-resistant containers are safe. But this is not the case, a...

study revealed around 50% of the cases of children’s exposure to grandparents’ drugs involved drugs kept in child-resistant containers.

How effective was National Take-Back Day program?
Since, it was first time; I am not sure how many people were aware of the program.  News has been trickling in and as per Houston Chronicle, 3000 pounds prescribed medicine were dropped off in Houston alone.

I did not know about National Take-back Day, should I wait another year?
If you did not drop off the drugs on Sept 25th, FDA acknowledged that you can still dispose the prescription and over-the-counter drugs safely:

  • almost all the prescription drugs can be thrown away in the household trash after mixing them with some unpalatable substance and sealing them in a container.
  • For the controlled and potentially dangerous prescription drugs, one good way to dispose of them is to flush them down the toilet.

You should be careful in flushing the drugs through the toilet.  Visit FDA website to look at the list of drugs that can be flushed in toilet, otherwise it could become menace for environment safety.

I think this is a good initiative, which could avoid injuries due to consumption of unused or expired drugs.  Do plan to clear out unwanted drugs from your house before the year end.

Source: Food Consumer

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