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Save Lives: Dispose of Your Medications Properly

Do you have unwanted, unused or expired prescription medications sitting around your house? In addition to clogging your medicine cabinet, they pose a risk to your friends and family. Did you know that the majority of people who misuse prescription medications report getting them from a friend or family member?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), an estimated 18 million people misused prescription medications in 2017. Young adults ages 18 - 25 had the highest rates of misuse with 14.4% reporting nonmedical use in the last year. Locally, 30% of teens who completed a survey reported taking a prescription medication from a family member in 2018. The most commonly abused drugs in the U.S. are opioids, central nervous system depressants (benzodiazepines, sleep medications and barbiturates) and stimulants.

You can prevent misuse, addiction and potential overdoses by properly disposing of your prescription medications. One way to do that is to take part in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, October 24, 2020 from 10 AM to 2 PM. The DEA holds this event twice a year and many local police departments participate by hosting collection events. Find a collection site near you. Vape pens and e-cigarette devices will be accepted only if batteries are removed. If you can't attend a Take Back Day event or aren't comfortable due to COVID-19, read below for other ways to dispose safely.

Other Ways to Safely Dispose Medications

1. Medication Drop Boxes

Local police departments have secure boxes in their lobbies that you can drop off medications for safe disposal. No questions asked! Find a drop box near you. Last year, 59,058 pounds of medications were collected in 95 boxes across the state! No needles, sharps, hazardous waste, thermometers or personal care items (shampoo) will be accepted. Get more information.

2. Dispose at Home

To do so, first remove any labels with personal information then mix the medication with something unappealing like used coffee grounds, kitty litter or sawdust. Then seal it in a container or plastic bag and put it in with your garbage. DO NOT FLUSH medications since many of them are harmful to the environment.

3. Pharmacy Collection Sites

Some local pharmacies will accept medications. Here is a locator to find one near you.

4. Medication Disposal Bags

You can purchase these specialty bags online and at many pharmacies. For a limited time, Deterra is giving away free disposal bags (while supplies last). Get yours. The Hub also has FREE Deterra bags available for the community. Contact us at

For more information about safe use, storage and disposal of prescription medications, visit To learn more about opioids, opioid use disorders and treatment options, visit

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