National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

Young person handing over prescription drugs to a drop box, wearing a lab coat, pharmacy backdrop..
National prescription drug take back day illustration

Down your throat, up your nose, without a prescription, those are how some of your habits go, but did you know, there's a day for us to say 'no - not so' to the misuse of prescription drugs? That's right, it's National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, the Rip Van Winkle of the health awareness calendar, only waking up twice a year to save lives!

When is Prescription Drug Take Back Day?

It's national prescription drug take back day on the 28th October.

Prescription for Lives

For all of those white bottles gathering dust and possibly attracting the interest of curious kiddos or fur babies in your cabinets, National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on October 28th, is a wake-up call to kick out the habit of hoarding potentially dangerous medications. Bursting into existence in 2010, this national day is organized by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as part of their determined offensive against prescription drug misuse, the cheeky little gremlin that's among the major public health issues in the country today.

An All-Time Medical High!

Our stats reveal that the day peaked in terms of online mentions on October 28th, 2017, clocking up an astonishing 24,851 nods. Seems like people couldn't keep talking about taking back! We're optimistically assuming all that chit-chat translated into heaps of disposed-of meds and safer homes!

It's all about Giving Back

For much too long, unused prescription medications have been doing a sublime job of collecting dust, being forgotten, or worse, inviting misuse! National Prescription Drug Take Back Day brings the message of proper disposal of these unwanted guests knocking on our doors, not once, but twice a year. But it's not just about returning unused drugs. It's also a day to engage in conversations on drug abuse prevention and play our roles in creating safer, healthier homes and communities.

Will You Take Part in Take Back?

Not often do we come across an awareness day that literally takes back the problem to its roots, does it? This day is all about clearing your cabinets, making a trip to the nearest collection site, and making a significant contribution to preventing drug misuse. Remember, next time you see those sealed, forgotten containers, don't just say 'not now'... say 'never in my house!', and take the right action!

History behind the term 'Prescription Drug Take Back'


Development of Prescription Drug Take Back Initiatives

In 2010, prescription drug take back initiatives began to gain traction as a way to combat the growing issue of prescription drug abuse and the improper disposal of medications. These initiatives aim to provide a safe and convenient method for individuals to dispose of their unused or expired prescription drugs, reducing the risk of misuse and environmental contamination.


National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

In 2011, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) launched the first National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. This event encouraged people to bring their unwanted prescription drugs to designated collection sites for safe disposal. The goal was to raise awareness about the importance of proper medication disposal and to provide a secure method for individuals to dispose of their unused medications.


Expansion of Prescription Drug Take Back Programs

By 2014, prescription drug take back programs had expanded across the United States with the participation of various law enforcement agencies, government organizations, and community partners. These programs often involved the installation of secure collection boxes at police stations, pharmacies, and other locations. The expansion of these programs helped increase accessibility and convenience for individuals looking to dispose of their prescription drugs responsibly.


Virtual Prescription Drug Take Back

In 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing measures, virtual prescription drug take back options emerged. These virtual programs utilized mail-back envelopes or secure drop-off locations to allow individuals to safely dispose of their prescription drugs without physical contact or the need for in-person collection events. This innovation provided an alternative solution during challenging times, ensuring the continuation of safe medication disposal practices.

Did you know?

Did you know, in its first decade, the DEA's Take Back Day events have successfully collected more than 6,800 tons of prescription drugs? That's almost the weight of the Great Pyramid of Giza!


awareness community health prescription drugs prevention

First identified

9th May 2015

Most mentioned on

28th October 2017

Total mentions


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