October 24, 2019
According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 9.9 million Americans misused controlled prescription drugs. On October 26, 2019, health care organizations across the country are participating in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day to help address this public safety and public health issue.1
The day is intended for “providing a safe, convenient, and anonymous means of disposing of prescription drugs,” according to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). On the agency's website, the Collection Site Locator can provide the closest location site based on zip code, county, and mile radius. Many local police stations, senior centers, municipal buildings, and other sites are included on the list.1
In addition, Walgreens, Rite Aid and CVS have all partnered with Google Maps to make finding drug disposal kiosks quicker and easier. Typing in “drug drop off near me” or “medication disposal near me” into Google will show results with the closest Rite Aid or Walgreens disposal unit.2-4
Starting in 2020, all CVS Pharmacy Locations across the United States will offer customers a free safe medication disposal option. 1,000 in-store safe disposal units will be added to the 1,700 current units nationwide. The company will also offer DisposeRx packets at no cost to their patients beginning in 2020, according to the company. When patients mix water and the DisposeRx powder added to a pill bottle with unwanted prescription medications, a biodegradable gel is produced for safe disposal at home.2-4
New to the initiative this year is the option to donate vaping devices and cartridges along with prescription medicines. Mitchel C. Rothholz, RPh, MBA, Chief Strategy Officer of the American Pharmacists Association, expressed agreement with this addendum for the mission of pharmacists.
“As pharmacists we focus on the health and well-being of the patients and communities we serve,” Rothholz said in an email with Pharmacy Times. “Therefore, we would support mechanisms that ensure the safe disposal of pharmaceuticals or other devices that should no longer be used and could cause harm if disposed of improperly or got into the wrong hands.”
National Prescription Drug Take Back Day can help combat a major issue in our society. Kimberly Wilson, Program Coordinator of Gwinnett United in Drug Education, Inc. (GUIDE), emphasized the importance of this day.
“Many of us have expired, unused or unwanted prescription drugs at home,” Wilson said in an email with Pharmacy Times. “Proper disposal is the best way to ensure our prescription medications are not accessed or used in a way that is unsafe or illegal.”