Prescription Drug Disposal

National Take Back Day

Prescription Drug Take Back Day events give the public an opportunity to prevent medicine misuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that are stored in home cabinets are highly susceptible to misuse. Rates of prescription drug misuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of misused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are advised that disposing of unused medicine by flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash pose potential safety and health hazards.

The next scheduled day will be October 28, 2017.


Permanent Drop Off Locations

Unable to join on National Take Back Day? Permanent drug drop boxes provide a safe and effective way to dispose of prescription drugs that are no longer needed for their intended purpose. The drugs in the drop box will then be safely and legally incinerated. Dispose of your medication all year at the following permanent locations:


Prescription Drug Abuse

Youth ages 12 – 17 abuse prescription drugs more than any illicit drug except marijuana – more than cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine combined(3). When prescription drugs are used by the person intended and as prescribed by his or her doctor, they are beneficial. When they are abused, they can be as deadly as any illicit drug.  

Dangerous Highs


  • A common misperception exists among youth that prescription and OTC drugs are a “safe” and “legal” way to get high.
  • Every day 2,500 teenagers use prescription drugs for the first time(1).
  • One in four teens (25%) reported taking a prescription drug not prescribed to them by a doctor at least once in their lives, and more than one in five teens (23%) used a prescription pain reliever not prescribed to them by a doctor4.
  • Among persons aged 12 or older in 2008-2009 who used pain relievers nonmedically in the past 12 months,
  • 55.3 % got the drug they most recently used from a friend or relative for free.
  • 17.6 % reported they got the drug from one doctor.
  • 4.8 % got pain relievers from a drug dealer or other stranger
  • 4 % bought them on the Internet


  • Among those who reported getting the pain reliever from a friend or relative for free, 80.0 % reported in a follow-up question that the friend or relative had obtained the drugs from just one doctor(2).

Free and Easily Available


  • Prescription and OTC drugs are easily available for teens. Teens report that they get prescription drugs for free from relatives of friends, often without their knowledge.
  • Teens are abusing prescription drugs because they are widely available, free or inexpensive, and they believe they are not as risky as street drugs(3).
  • Because these drugs are so readily available, teens who otherwise wouldn’t touch street drugs might abuse prescription drugs(3).
  • 38% of teens believe prescription drugs are available everywhere(4).

What you can do to prevent prescription drug abuse


  • Count your medication.
  • Dispose of unused or expired medication properly.
  • Talk to your kids about the dangers of prescription and OTC drug abuse.
  • Store your medication in a safe place, where children, teens and visitors to your home do not have easy access to it.
  • If you suspect your child is abusing prescription or OTC drugs, contact The Council on Alcohol & Drug Abuse, 214-522-8600 for information and referrals.


  1. Combating Teen Prescription Drug Abuse. (2008, January). In SAMHSA News. Retrieved April 4, 2011, from
  2. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2010). Results from the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Volume I. Summary of National Findings (Office of Applied Studies, NSDUH Series H-38A, HHS Publication No. SMA 10-4586Findings). Rockville, MD.
  3. Prescription for Danger: A Report on the Troubling Trend of Prescription and Over-the-Counter Drug Abuse Among the Nation’s Teens. (2008, January). In Office of National Drug Control Policy. Retrieved April 6, 2011, from
  4. 2010 Partnership Attitude Tracking Study, sponsored by MetLife Foundation. (2011, April 6). In The Partnership at Retrieved April 7, 2011, from
  5. Proper Disposal of Prescription Drugs. (2009, October). In White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. Retrieved April 3, 2011, from

Learn how you can help

Join us in the fight against drug use among young people in Dallas!