October 23, 2018

Old prescriptions in your medicine cabinet? Drop them off on Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

By Rebecca Alexander

What do you do with leftover or expired prescriptions? It’s easy to forget about old prescriptions in the back of your medicine cabinet and just toss them in the trash. But there is a better way to dispose of your old or expired prescription medications – like “dropping them off” at designated locations.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), in 2016, 6.2 million Americans misused controlled prescription drugs. This study also found that many of the abused medications were obtained from family and friends. Knowing how to properly dispose of your unwanted or expired medications can help to decrease the potential for prescription drug abuse.

National Take-Back Day

Twice a year, the DEA designates a National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. The next one is coming up on October 27, 2018.

This Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm, you can take expired or unneeded prescriptions and medications to designated drop-off locations. At these drop-off locations, your medications will be safely disposed of and help to battle the rising issue of prescription drug abuse. Sheriff’s departments and pharmacies across many North Carolina counties, including Buncombe, Henderson and Transylvania, are participating.

Remember to:

  • Remove all identification labels from your medication containers.
  • Separate your prescriptions into separate bags based on whether they are pills, liquids or inhalers. (At this time, any radioactive medications, needles or sharps cannot be accepted.)
  • Take them to a drop-off location near you.

Toss it

Throwing out your old or no-longer-needed prescriptions is kind of like recycling – you need to know what can and can’t be thrown away. The next time you clean out your medicine cabinet, follow these simple steps from the DEA so that your old medicine doesn’t end up in the wrong hands. When tossing medication in the trash, be sure to:

  • Remove the medication from their original containers. Mix the medication with undesirable materials – like cat litter, dirt or coffee grounds. By doing so, the medication is easily “hidden” in the trash and will appear less appealing to children and pets.
  • Place your “medicine mix” into a container that can easily be closed, such as zipper bags or cans so that your medication will not spill in the trash or anywhere else.
  • Throw the container into your trash.
  • As for the original packaging your prescription came in – cross out any personal information on the packaging and throw the packaging away.
For more information on how to properly dispose of your prescriptions, as well as fentanyl patches and inhaler products, visit the Food and Drug Administration’s webpage.

Drop in and drop it off on October 27

Don’t know where your nearest drop off location is? No need to worry – the DEA has a Collection Site Locator so it’s easy to find the location nearest you! Can’t make it to a drop-off location this Saturday? There are permanent drop-off locations that you can go to discard your prescriptions at any time.

This National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, keep your loved ones safe: dispose of your medicines properly.