Ready To Start Your Recovery? Have Insurance?Call Now (877) 267-3646

Why Do We Need National Drug Take-Back Day?  Here’s What You Should Know

You are here:
Home Addiction Why Do We Need National Drug Take-Back Day?  Here’s What You Should Know

Every year, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) sponsors two national drug take-back days.  The first one occurs in April and the second one in October.  Since April is fast approaching, now is a good time to become familiar with the program and find a way to help.

What Is National Drug Take-Back Day?

Research shows that millions of people have prescription opioids and other addictive prescriptions in their homes.  Many of the drugs are within easy reach of teens or adults who want to use them to get high.  

Another problem with prescription drugs is that the medications expire.  When someone uses an expired drug, they can suffer unexpected side effects.  National Drug Take-Back Day provides drug collection sites or drop-off points where people can get rid of their unused, unwanted, or expired prescription meds.  

The drop-off sites protect your privacy and there is no charge for dropping off unused medications.  They also accept OTC meds, pet medications, e-cigarettes, and cartridges.  

Some of the things you can’t turn in at a drop-off location include:

Some of the things you can’t turn in at a drop-off location include:

  • Marijuana
  • Alcohol
  • Street drugs
  • Illegally purchased medicines
  • Needles
  • Syringes
  • Aerosols
  • Thermometers
  • Medications that contain iodine

No one can set up a take-back site on their own. The sites must be authorized by the DEA before they operate.  

Why Do We Need Drug-Take Back Day?

On April 22, 2023, cities across America will participate in National Drug Take-Back Day.  The goal is to reduce prescription drug overdoses.  Although many overdoses are caused by illicit drugs, some prescription opioids are highly addictive and were involved in more than 16,706 fatal overdoses last year, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH).

Keeping addictive and dangerous substances away from young people is part of the focus of the drug take-back initiative.  Easy access to drugs is partially to blame for the increasing number of overdoses among youth today.

If you would like to dispose of unwanted prescription drugs, you can find a location with this collection site locator.  Last year’s National Take-Back Day in October was a success according to the following results:

  • Law enforcement participation – 4,340
  • Total collection sites – 4,902
  • Total weight collected –  647,163 lbs. (324 tons)
  • Total weight all time – 16,636,729 lbs. (8,318 tons)

The numbers above are encouraging.  They represent thousands of addictive prescription drugs that won’t get a chance to harm someone.  By providing an anonymous, convenient way of disposing of unused medicines, drug take-back events are making a difference.

Drug take-back events not only protect the environment, they also limit drug diversion.  The drugs collected are sent to a processing center to be incinerated.  This process keeps the drugs from polluting groundwater, waterways, and landfills.

Here’s How You Can Help

Before April 22, you should check to find a local collection site.  Most people live within five miles of a disposal site.  Next, check your medications to identify any that are no longer needed or that have expired. Be sure to remove the labels or use a permanent marker to cover your personal information.  Place the drugs in a clear, sealed bag before taking them to the collection site.  

Unable to get to the collection site on the designated date?   You can safely dispose of the medications yourself.  First, you should check to see if the medication appears on the FDA Flush List

 If it is not on the list, take these recommended steps to dispose of the drug:

  • Take the drug out of the container and mix it with dirt, kitty litter, or used coffee grounds. 
  • Place the mixture into an empty can or another sealed container to prevent leakage.
  • Place the container in the trash.
  • Mark out identifying information on the empty bottles or packages before disposing of them.

Other steps you can take to prevent medications from falling into the wrong hands:

  • Be sure all medications are securely locked up.
  • Never share your medicine with someone or take someone else’s medicine.
  • When you fill a prescription, ask for a drug disposal pouch.

Research shows that most young people who misuse prescription drugs get them from the family medicine cabinet.  The drugs then end up at “skittles” parties where young people are unaware of what they are ingesting.  You can help reduce the risk of accidental overdoses by ensuring your medicines are safely out of reach.  

Design for Change Recovery Promotes Whole-Person Healing for Long-Term Sobriety

Design for Change Recovery Promotes Whole-Person Healing for Long-Term Sobriety

National Drug Take-Back Day helps prevent addictions and overdoses.  But, despite these efforts, many people are currently struggling with addiction.  

Design for Change Recovery is here to help these individuals get the treatment they need.  We offer compassionate, customized treatment programs that promote healing the emotional, mental, and physical elements that contribute to addiction for a whole-person approach.  

If you would like to know more about our programs, contact our Lancaster, CA facility today.  We will be happy to help you choose a program that aligns with your specific needs.  


  • – National Prescription Drug Take  Back Day is April 22, 2023 – 10 am to 2 pm
  •– Drug Overdose Death Rates
  •– Take Back Day Collection Site Locator
  • – 23rd National Take Back Day October 29, 2022
  •– Drug Disposal: FDA’s Flush List for Certain Medicines
Why Do We Need National Drug Take-Back Day?  Here’s What You Should Know