Skip to content

National Drug Take-Back Day

2010 September 16

By Lina Younes

I remember when I was a teenager and I would regularly go through the medicine cabinet checking the expiration dates of medications. Since my father was a physician, he would often get samples from pharmaceutical companies promoting their wares. With time, these samples piled up and ended up in the trash unused. I thought nothing of it back then.

Several decades later we have seen several reports on the presence of pharmaceuticals in water and the potential risks to human health and aquatic life. EPA and its federal partners are taking steps to address the issue regarding public education and proper disposal of pharmaceuticals and personal care products in water. However, have you stopped to think what you can do at home?

Well, for starters, there is going to be a National Drug Take-Back Day at a location near you on September 25th. The main objective is to allow individuals to drop off their excess prescription and over-the-counter medications at select collection centers for proper disposal. The benefits will be threefold. First, by removing these unused medications in your home, you’ll prevent unintentional poisonings of children, the elderly and pets. Secondly, by participating in this “take-back” event, you’ll avoid having these drugs from contaminating our environment. Thirdly, you’ll also prevent prescription drugs from falling into the wrong hands. In essence, it’s a win-win throughout: protecting public health and safety, taking care of the environment and cleaning out your medicine cabinet all for a good cause. After the event, the medications will be disposed of properly with minimum impact on the environment. Please visit this website and plug in your zip code to find a collection site near you. It’s that simple.

About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and chairs EPA’s Multilingual Communications Task Force. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.


Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

10 Responses leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    September 16, 2010

    I am confuse if human live in the others planet for the future. Positively They need the drugs. What kind of Their drugs ? Are Their drugs have expiration dates ? I’m sorry, that shows in the future, when we pries at the heaven. From there, We hope our great grand children consistently to protect Environmental.

  2. High school student permalink
    September 16, 2010

    I am hosting a take back drug session at my local public post office to get people involved in taking back their drugs to specific sites in the neighborhood!!!

    Let’s all take back the drugs and get our environment and kids healthier

  3. Lina-EPA permalink
    September 17, 2010

    Dear Student,
    Good for you! Keep up the good work.

  4. Anonymous permalink
    September 17, 2010

    Do hospice nurses participate in this as well? The first thing they do after a person has died, is take all the left over meds and flush them. I feel that this day will be a good start to help with the excess of meds and protecting the ones who may not need them. The only concern is that how much of this will help protect our waters? There are so many pollutants and not enough education on what goes into our water. Water purification systems at home are great, but not affordable to all. Keep up the optimism on trying to help change how we have impacted our H2O and I hope more people catch onto thinking about the end result of our actions.

  5. Lina-EPA permalink
    September 17, 2010

    This event is geared toward private citizens, but we hope it will help increase awareness overall. Thanks for your comment.

  6. Lina-EPA permalink*
    September 23, 2010

    Dar Anonymous,
    I would like to amplify my earlier response regarding hospices. In fact, EPA recently released draft guidance targeted toward hospices and other health care facilities about how to better manage unused drugs to keep them out of water systems and the environment. We are accepting public comments on the guidance document through November 8, 2010. You can find the online guidance document and other information here:
    http://water.epa.gov/scitech/wastetech/guide/unusedpharms_index.cfm

  7. cool high school student permalink
    September 24, 2010

    i really like this idea but i dont think enough is behind it for it to be a success. The only reason i know about this is because my enviro law teacher, anyway my point is there’s a whole lot more we can do to expose people to these problems

  8. stupid idea permalink
    September 25, 2010

    i’m hosting a drug take back day celebration at my house. feel free to come by and drop off your dope….expired or not, we’ll take it and put it to good use. Thanks and take care now.

  9. Hypnogal permalink
    September 25, 2010

    Huh? That didn’t make any sense.

  10. Anonymous permalink
    September 25, 2010

    What in the world are you trying to say here?

Leave a Reply

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS