Prepared by: Kelly White, LPhT, CPhT and Adam Aqel, PharmD Candidate
National drug take backs programs are important because they address a major public health issue. According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 9.9 million Americans misused controlled prescription drugs. The study also notes that a majority of the misused or abused medications were obtained from family and friends. The perception that prescription drugs are safer than illegal drugs is not accurate. Many prescription and over-the-counter medications can be abused and lead to injury or death if used incorrectly.
Take back programs offer many ways to dispose of medications, in a safe and environmentally friendly way. While there may be other methods of disposing medications, take back programs ensure proper disposal. If unable to utilize one of the take back sites, the FDA provides information to check if a certain product is flushable. This list can be found at: https://www.fda.gov/media/109643/download
Take back programs are not only limited to controlled drugs. Take back programs often accept prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, needles inhalers, lotions/ointments, and even pet medications. Some take back locations include:
For the full list of all Michigan sites and which types of medications they accept, please visit: https://www.michigan.gov/documents/deq/deq-tou-HHDrugTakebackLocations_629531_7.pdf. To search for collection sites nationally, please visit: https://takebackday.dea.gov/
These events usually do not take back hazardous drugs such as chemotherapy. Please call the FDA at 888-INFO-FDA (888-463-6332) for more information on proper disposal of hazardous drugs.
There are multiple local secure drop off sites that take back medications. Muskegon County residents can search for local sites at www.mamdp.org and Grand Rapids residents can search at www.reimaginetrash.org. Please call individual sites for the most current take back information and information on whether or not they accept sharps containers.