Drug Take-Back Programs: What are they, and where can I find them? 

There are various drug take-back programs, and all allow the public to provide a convenient way to dispose of unused, unwanted, or expired medication.

While these programs’ goal is to help avoid improperly disposing of drugs that could put the environment and humans at risk, there are also other reasons why these programs were started. 

The programs were initially created to lessen the accessibility to opioids and other drugs for recreational use.  

In a 2008 study, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reported that 86% of participants said that they accessed drugs through family, friends, or personal prescriptions.  

Since then, the heroin epidemic has decreased significantly, but opioid overdoses in the United States happen frequently. From 2019 to 2020, overdose-related deaths in the United States increased from 70,630 to 91,799. 

Most of these overdoses are caused by synthetic opioids, also called pharmaceutical fentanyl and methamphetamine.  

Therefore, drug take-back programs are essential to protect our environment and reduce the risk of people using these unused medications for recreational use and potentially harming themselves. 


There are various drug take-back programs that provide a convenient way to dispose of unused, unwanted, or expired medication. Read this blog.


Firstly, there are year-round take-back programs at most local pharmacies, such as Walgreens or CVS, where anyone can bring their unused or expired medications for free. These programs also occur at limited retail stores such as Walmart, but not many other stores do.  

You will often dispose of the medicine at a kiosk inside or outside the pharmacy.  

For this specific type of program, it is essential to research which locations around you offer a take-back program and know what can and cannot be disposed of in the kiosk.  

Click here to find out how pharmacies and law enforcement departments provide this program. This link shows displays a United States map showing all the CVS, Walgreens, and police departments that offer this program in each state. 


Another type of program is Prescription Drug Drop Box Program, which is usually in or outside local law enforcement locations, such as fire stations or police departments.  

These boxes are limited in terms of what can be disposed of; for example, you are not allowed to dispose of needles, syringes, inhalers, creams, ointments, or lotions.  

However, most states provide this option year-round to provide an appropriate and safe way of disposing of personal medications. 


Click here to find more information about drop box locations and collection sites near you. This link takes you to the DEA website, where you will input the zip code, city, and state you live in, and it shows every drop box location and collection site within 5, 10, 20, or 50 miles from your area. 


There are also National Take-Back Days twice a year, the first is on April 30th, and the second is on October 22nd from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM.  

These events were started by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to reduce overdoses and overdose-related deaths by disposing of unneeded medications to lessen the chance of someone harming themselves. 

On these two days, all 50 states participate in the events hosted by state law enforcement and hospitals at various collection sites spread throughout each state and open to the public.  

Click here to find more information about past and future National Take-Back events near you. 


MedPro Disposal’s Mail Back Pharmaceutical Waste Disposal Service makes it safe and easy to adhere to waste disposal requirements. It keeps potentially dangerous pharmaceuticals out of landfills and prevents harmful drug residues from contaminating nearby waterways.   

The MP1 Kit returns system includes items that you’ll need to confidently ship and dispose unwanted or expired pharmaceuticals including controlled substances (DEA Schedules II-V) securely. The kit is designed for the shipment of both controlled substances as well as non-controlled pharmaceutical drug products. 

There are various drug take-back programs that provide a convenient way to dispose of unused, unwanted, or expired medication
. Read this blog.

Learn more about how Medpro Disposal could help your office stay compliant with pharmaceutical waste disposal and management.  Call us today or book a 5-10 minutes appointment  with a MedPro Disposal Customer Advocate. 

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