National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day
Sept. 26, 2015; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day 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. Find Take-Back location near you.
Managing unwanted pharmaceuticals
Unused drugs kept in medicine cabinets, tossed in the garbage, or
flushed down the toilet or drain can be serious threats to human and
environmental health. In one recent national study, scientists analyzed
streams for 95 different organic wastewater contaminants, including
pharmaceutical compounds. One or more of these wastewater contaminants
appeared in 80 percent of the streams. Risks posed to aquatic organisms
by long-term exposure to various pharmaceutical compounds are unknown.
Wastewater treatment plants and septic systems usually do not treat or
only partially treat pharmaceuticals, so chemical compounds from
pharmaceuticals pass through treatment plants or septic systems to
rivers or groundwater.
Drugs of concern include controlled and non-controlled prescription
drugs, as well as over-the-counter medications. Proper management of
these drugs reduces avoidable poisoning of both children and adults;
prevents intentional misuse of unwanted prescription drugs, especially
by teenagers; and protects water quality and fish.
Disposal recommendations for household pharmaceuticals
- Dispose of pharmaceuticals down a drain or toilet.
- Burn household waste containing pharmaceuticals.
Take waste pharmaceutical to a designated collection site.
Take waste pharmaceuticals to a Drug Take-Back event, periodically
sponsored by the US Drug Enforcement Agency or other non-profit
- If no Drug Take-Back sites or events are available, dispose of
waste pharmaceuticals in the trash. Follow these basic guidelines:
- Take waste pharmaceuticals out of their original containers.
Tape the lid on the container if it is not child-proof and there
are children in the home;
- Mix the waste pharmaceuticals with an undesirable substance
such as cat litter or used coffee grounds;
- Place this mixture in a plastic sealable bag or a sealable
container, such as an empty margarine container especially if
- Remove labels from empty containers or conceal with marker,
any patient information and;
- Place the sealed container with the mixture and the empty
pharmaceutical containers in the trash as close to garbage
pickup time as possible.
For information about disposal of infectious waste or medical waste,