Coming Up April 28

National 'Take-Back' Initiative Focuses on Destroying Expired, Unwanted Drugs

April 11, 2012 04:40 pm News Staff

Prescription drug abuse continues to be a major problem in the United States. As part of the effort to address this problem, the DEA has scheduled the fourth National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day( to collect and destroy expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs.

[Stock photo-prescription bottle]

The event will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (local time) on April 28 at collection sites( around the country. Last year, the DEA destroyed 188.5 tons of unwanted and expired drugs collected nationally.

Like the CDC's Up and Away and Out of Sight campaign, which enlists parents' and caregivers' help to keep prescription medications out of children's hands, the Prescription Drug Take-Back initiative addresses an important public health issue. According to the DEA, unused or expired medicines are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse.

"Rates of prescription drug abuse in the United States are increasing at alarming rates, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to abuse of these drugs," the DEA says in a news release template( that can be customized by each local collection site. "Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet."

To help spread the word about the event, the DEA is offering a number of free resources(, such as a downloadable poster that is available in various sizes and in English and Spanish. Other resources -- many of them bilingual -- family physicians may wish to use in their practices or on their practice websites to raise awareness include

  • a two-page pamphlet,
  • print and digital billboards that can be posted online or displayed in an office setting, and
  • Web buttons in various sizes and configurations.

The U.S. Army also is lending its support( to the initiative, partnering with the DEA to offer collection/disposal sites at military installations across the country.