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This Saturday: Take-Back Day for Old Drugs

Drug Medicines Collage

America, it's time to clean out your medicine cabinet.

Those old, expired, dangerous prescription drugs that you no longer need and are wondering how to get rid of safely - and anonymously - and for free? Mark your calendars for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, for National Prescription Take-Back Day.

Collection sites and times are posted at

This is the sixth time in three years that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has offered this event. Last year Americans got rid of an astounding 488,395 pounds (or 244 tons) of prescription medications at more than 5,260 Take-Back locations.

This is not just a matter of spring cleaning. Medicines in the home are a leading cause of accidental poisoning. Plus, people who abuse prescription drugs often get them from a friend's or relative's home medicine cabinet, frequently without their knowledge, federal data show. Health experts also warn against people using leftover or out-of-date drugs to self-medicate instead of going to the doctor.

And flushing unused meds down the toilet is not the answer because this pollutes our water supply and wildlife.

What exactly can you take back on Saturday? Pills of any kind - prescription or over-the-counter, said a DEA spokesman. The only things that can't be accepted are liquid medicines, injectables and needles.

If you can't find a convenient location or you miss the event, the DEA suggests that you dispose of old drugs by taking them out of their bottles, mixing them with something unappealing like used kitty litter or coffee grounds, and then sealing them in a bag or disposable container and throwing them away.


Photo:  psyberartist /flickr


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