Reminder: Safe Medication Disposal – National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

Save the Date: October 26, 2019 at 10am-2pm

Key Points

  • National Prescription Drug Take Back Day occurs twice annually (usually in April and October). The next Drug Take Back Day will occur on October 26, 2019.
  • Drug take back events are important for public health as they limit potential abuse and accidental overdose by limiting the availability of unneeded medications in the home.

Why is medication disposal important?5,6,7,9

There is a common misperception that prescription drugs are safer than illegal drugs – this is not accurate. Many prescription and over the counter medications can be abused and/or lead to injury or death if used incorrectly.

  • Approximately 20% of the USA over the age of 12 years have abused prescription medications
  • Drug overdose is a leading cause of death in the United States, killing more people every year than car accidents
  • The risk of pediatric contact to medications has been connected with availability in the home
  • 9 out of 10 unintentional childhood poisonings occur at home

Where can patients dispose of unwanted medications?1-4,8

Medications can be disposed of in a number of ways, but not all methods are safe nor effective. While medications, in many cases, can be disposed of at home, take back programs are highly recommended to increase safety and to ensure that each medication is disposed of in an environmentally friendly way. Take back events are a one-stop drop off opportunity for prescription and over-the-counter drugs including but not limited to controlled substances, ointments, lotions, inhalers, patches, needles, and even pet medications.

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.

What if you miss the National Take Back Day October 26, 2019?2

There are multiple local secure drop off sites that take back medications. Muskegon County residents can search for local sites at and Grand Rapids residents can search at Please call individual sites for the most current take back information and information on whether or not they accept sharps containers.



Prepared by: Kelly White, LPhT, CPhT and Michelle Carey, LPhT, CPhT

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