National Prescription Take Back Day: October 28, 2023

Kacey Flores, PA-C
Physician Assistant
Coastal Gateway Health Center

Did you know that unwanted prescription drugs should never be thrown in the trash or flushed down the toilet? All too often, prescription drugs find their way into the wrong hands, creating a dangerous and often tragic situation. According to a report published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the majority of people who use a prescription medication for a nonmedical purpose obtained that medication from a family member or friend. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that in the United States, 107,735 American lives were lost to drug poisoning between August 2021 and August 2022.

Moreover, drugs flushed down the toilets contaminate the water supply. In 2010, the United States recognized the drug overdose epidemic and decided to do something about reducing medication misuse and opioid addiction through proper disposal of unused, unwanted, or expired medication.

The Drug Enforcement Administration now has “National Prescription Take Back Day” during the last Saturday of the months of April and October annually. DEA sponsors specific collection sites throughout the country where medications can be dropped off for proper disposal.

To prepare for Take Back Day:
1. Locate all medications in your household or your loved one’s household and ensure that they’re securely stored with lids tightly on bottles and out of reach of children and pets.
2. Inventory the medications and identify any that are unused, unwanted, or expired.
3. Label each of these medications, indicating that they are for disposal.
4. Take them to a collection site at the proper time.

To find a list of one of the 4,000 local drop-off locations nationwide, you may visit

DEA and its partners will collect tablets, capsules, suspensions, and patches of prescription drugs. Collection sites will not accept syringes, sharps, and illicit drugs. Liquid products, such as cough syrup, should remain tightly sealed in their original container. The event will also accept vaping devices and cartridges, provided lithium batteries are removed.

If you missed the designated take back day, there are several places you can take unwanted prescription drugs year-round, including close to 15,000 pharmacies, hospitals, and businesses. In addition, many police departments provide year-round drop boxes.

Working together, we can end non-medical prescription misuse.

Coastal Gateway Health Center can be reached by phone at 409.296.4444 or by email at Or for more information regarding our services and programs, please visit our website at or find and follow us on Facebook. We are proud to be #yourcommunityhealthcenter.

Posted in LatestNews.