In 2010, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency launched “National Prescription Drug Take Back Day” to remove unwanted, expired or unused prescription drugs from homes. The DEA has announced on the next Take Back Day, scheduled on October 26, 2019, vaping devices and cartridges will be accepted for the first time.
Don’t Be the Dealer
During the last Take Back Day in April 2019, the public turned in 469 tons of prescription drugs at more than 6,258 sites. Cleaning out and safe disposal of unused medications is necessary to safeguard our family and homes. Prescription drugs lying around in medicine cabinets, bedside tables and other common areas are at risk for abuse and potential overdose. Think about medications currently in your home and consider the following:
Prescription and OTC drugs are the most commonly abused substances by Americans aged 14 and older after alcohol and marijuana
Each day, more than 1,600 teens begin abusing prescription drugs
Approximately 4 in 10 teens who misused a prescription drug report getting it from their parent’s medicine cabinet.
Leftover prescription drugs puts toddlers and children at risk of poisoning and overdose. Between 2001 and 2008, more than 450,000 cases of poisoning in children under 6 years old were reported to U.S. poison control centers. Of these reported cases, 95% involved ingestion of a prescription medication, resulting in 66 deaths.
Vaping Products Accepted
As of October 15th, the CDC has confirmed 33 deaths among 1,479 lung injuries linked to the use of e-cigarettes. Several states like Oregon, New York, Michigan and Washington have banned flavored e-cigarettes that target teens. A public health emergency has been declared by the governor of Massachusetts with a four month ban on the sale of all vaping products.
To help in the fight against this public health threat, vaping devices and cartridges will be accepted on National Drug Prescription Take Back Day. The DEA has provided the following guidelines for submitting vaping products and substances for safe disposal:
Vape pens and e-cigarette devices will only be accepted after batteries are removed.
The collection sites will not be responsible for removing batteries from devices.
If battery cannot be removed, check with large electronic chain stores to ask if they can accept the device for proper disposal.
People dropping off vaping devices and liquids to participating sites will help take these products off the streets and away from children and teens.
Find a Collection Site
On Saturday, October 26th, more than 5,250 collection sites will be open from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm local time for drop-off. You can find a collection site near you by visiting www.DEATakeBack.com or by calling 800-882-9539.
Safely Dispose All Year Round
If a take-back site is not available in your area and disposal instructions are not provided on prescription drug labeling, the DEA provides guidelines for safe disposal in household trash.
Remove the medicine from its original container and mix it with used coffee grounds, kitty litter or other undesirable substances.
Place the mixture in a sealable bag, empty bag or container to prevent medicine from leaking or breaking out of a garbage bag.
Scratch out all identifying information to protect your identity and privacy.
Never share your prescription drugs.
If no other disposal method is available, medication may be flushed down a sink or toilet. However, some communities may prohibit flushing out of concern for trace drug residues found in rivers, lakes and community water supplies. Also, only flush if the prescription drug labeling specifically instructs you to do so.
For more information on the growing number of illnesses and deaths related to vaping, visit:
CDC Information on E-Cigarettes Severe Lung Disease
For more information on what you can do to prevent prescription drugs from falling into the wrong hands, visit these websites:
United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
Get Smart About Drugs: A DEA Resource For Parents, Educators, & Caregivers
ThinkTwice Global Vaccine Unit
For more information on safe disposal, visit:
Disposal of Unused Medicine: What You Should Know
DEA Allows the Return of Unused Medication to Pharmacies