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Reporting a Medication Error

Any unused or expired medicine in your home? You can dispose of them safely on National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

Published April 3, 2023

It’s important to dispose of any unused or expired medicine properly and safely. In doing so, you can help avoid potential abuse, prevent accidental poisonings of children and pets, and protect the environment. The safest way to do this is by taking them to a drug take back location.

Each year, on the last Saturday of April, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) sponsors a National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. The event this year will be held on April 25th from 10:00 am until 2:00 pm. Collection sites all over the country will be accepting all unused or expired medicine during this time. To locate a collection site near you, use the collection site locator provided on the DEA Take Back Day website.  

Medicines that are too old or no longer needed should be discarded. On prescription bottles, the label will often tell you when the medicine should be discarded. On over-the-counter medicines and sample medicines, the expiration date (the date it should be discarded) is often printed somewhere on the label. Look for the letters "EXP" which may be stamped onto the outer carton, the bottom of the bottle, or the crimp (ruff edge) of a tube. There you should see the expiration date. If you cannot find the expiration date, unless you know you purchased it within the past year, it is best to toss it.

What is accepted: Take back locations will accept human (and pet) prescription and over-the-counter medicines. These include tablets, capsules, patches, creams, and ointments. Check with your take back location to see if they will accept liquid medicine, eye and ear drops, nasal sprays, and vaping products (without a lithium battery).

Prepare your medicine for disposal: All medicines must be in their original container or placed inside a sealed container such as a plastic bottle with a lid or a sealable plastic bag. Remove any personal information from the medicine by removing the label or crossing it out with a black permanent marker.  

What is NOT accepted: Illicit drugs, syringes, sharps, intravenous or injectable medicines are not accepted. Check with your pharmacy or medical provider on how to properly dispose of these.

If you are unable to bring your medicine to a take back location on April 25th you can use the collection site locator for locations that accept out dated or unused medicines year-round.

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