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National Drug Take-Back Day Sept. 25

Program Offers Safe Way to Get Unneeded Drugs Out of Your Medicine Cabinet

Program Offers Safe Way to Get Unneeded Drugs Out of Your Medicine Cabinet

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and local law enforcement are organizing a nationwide medicine “Take-Back” initiative that seeks to prevent increased pill abuse and provide environmentally sound disposal. 

DEA will be collecting potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription and over-the-counter drugs for destruction at sites nationwide on Saturday, September 25, 2010, from 10 AM to 2 PM.  The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

Many Puget Sound-area locations are participating in the National Pharmaceutical Take-Back Day, including five Seattle Police precincts.  To learn more or to find a location nearest you, visit

You can also return medicines that are not controlled substances, such as narcotics, to any Group Health location in Washington state, and select Bartell Drugs pharmacies around Puget Sound anytime throughout the year. Some local law enforcement also provides drug take-back programs for all medicines.  Learn more at or call the King County Household Hazardous Waste Hotline at 206-296-4692 or 1-888-869-4233.

The National Pharmaceutical Take-Back Day addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Many Americans are not aware that medicines that languish in home cabinets 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 these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.

In addition, many Americans do not know how to properly dispose of their unused medicine, often flushing them down the toilet or throwing them away – both potential safety and health hazards.  Pharmaceuticals are a significant water pollutant nationwide and a concern in Puget Sound.  About 30 percent of medicines sold go unused or expire, so disposing of these waste medicines properly through a drug take-back program is an important part of protecting our waterways and aquatic ecosystems.

DEA’s national initiative and existing drug take-back programs demonstrate the large community demand for safe drug disposal programs.  Many organizations – including local governments, public health professionals, and law enforcement – are calling for the creation of a statewide drug take-back program to adequately protect our communities.  Learn more at