Protect your community; safely dispose of unused medications this Take Back Day

Officials plead with the public to stop flushing unwanted medications down the toilet ...

ROCHESTER, Minn. — National Prescription Drug Take Back Day events are held twice a year — in April and October — in communities nationwide. People can drop off unused or expired medications — with no questions asked — for free and safe disposal.

“By properly disposing of unused drugs, people can contribute to the health and safety of their communities,” says Capt. Tim Parkin of the Olmsted County (Minnesota) Sheriff’s Office.

Those attending and dropping off unused prescription medication may also receive information about naloxone, which is used for emergency treatment of an opioid overdose.

DEA Prescription Drug Take Back Day events offer a safe, free and convenient means to dispose of unnecessary medicines stored in the home that can be susceptible to abuse and theft.

Medications, including controlled substances such as opioids, stimulants, depressants, hallucinogens and anabolic steroids, will be collected.

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Medications accepted for safe disposal at take-back locations include:

  • Prescription drugs
  • Over-the-counter medications
  • Ointments, patches, creams, inhalers and vials
  • Pet medications
  • Nonaerosol medications

Liquid medications must be in the original container. Vape pens and other e-cigarette devices are accepted with the batteries removed.

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Unused prescription drugs thrown in the trash can be retrieved, abused or illegally sold. Improperly disposing of medications by flushing them down the toilet poses a potential health and environmental hazard.

“The devastating effects of having unused drugs in our homes can include accidental ingestion by young children and pets, increasing the risk of controlled substances, such as opioids, being misused by any household members with access,” says Dr. Lai.

Drug Take Back Day events occur Saturday in communities across the nation. Find a drop-off location by visiting the DEA National Prescription Drug Take Back Day website.

Community members unable to attend the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day event can dispose of medications safely anytime using the prescription drug collection boxes available in many communities; check local resources.


About Mayo Clinic | Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to innovation in clinical practice, education and research, and providing compassion, expertise and answers to everyone who needs healing. Visit the Mayo Clinic News Network for additional Mayo Clinic news.

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