Guest Post - National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, Saturday October 29th 2011

Guest Post - National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, Saturday October 29th 2011

As part of our recent post about How to Dispose of Unused Medications?,we want to highlight that there is a National Prescription Drug Take Back Day this Saturday, October 29thfrom 10am till 2pm (local time) for those who have unused, or unwanted medications and need a safe place for disposal. To find a collection site near you, click here.

On a national level, estimates point to upwards of 200 million pounds of pharmaceutical waste being generated each year (Pennsylvania Resources Counsel website).  This event is one of the few national initiatives where consumers can bring their medicine for proper disposal.  Another program, which many pharmacies have begun to incorporate, is the Sharps TakeAway Environmental System, where individuals can fill an envelope with their drugs and send them to Sharps treatment facility where the contents of the envelope are “processed” in the supervision of law enforcement.  The going rate for one envelope is $3.99 and with original packing considered, space is tight. This specific program also excludes the collection of controlled drugs (adderall, oxycontin, etc.) as well as applicators like syringes.

So what is one to do if no take back program is made available to them?  For incidences like so, the FDA offers these options as an alternative…

“If no medicine take-back program is available in your area, consumers can also follow these simple steps to dispose of most medicines in the household trash:

  • Mix medicines (do NOT crush tablets or capsules) with an unpalatable substance such as kitty litter or used coffee grounds;
  • Place the mixture in a container such as a sealed plastic bag; and
  • Throw the container in your household trash”

Or, for certain medications…

  • “…few medicines have specific disposal instructions that indicate they should be flushed down the sink or toilet when they are no longer needed and when they cannot be disposed of through a drug take-back program.”
  • “…flushing these medicines down the sink or toilet is currently the best way to immediately and permanently remove the risk of harm from the home”

We still feel that more can be done in terms of drug take back and will highlight some of these in coming weeks but for now this is what exists.


This blog was originally published by Beth Bengtson on the Hale Advisors company blog. Click here to view it on that site and to read more of Beth's work.