DEA National Prescription Drug Take Back Program

Drug Enforcement Administration: National Take-Back Initiative


Department of Justice Office of Diversion Control


Department of Justice Office of Diversion Control

On September 25, 2010 the DEA facilitated a nationwide drug take back effort during which it collected potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs for destruction. The service was free and anonymous, no questions asked.

The 2010 DOJ press release about this program noted:

This initiative addressed a vital public safety and public health issue. Many Americans are not aware that medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are increasing at alarming rates, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, many Americans do not know how to properly dispose of their unused medicine, often flushing them down the toilet or throwing them away - both potential safety and health hazards.

The resources below may be useful to any jurisdiction hoping to establish its own drug take back program.

  • Scripts for PSAs that can be used to promote drug take back events
  • Sound bites that can be used when talking with the media about prescription drug abuse
  • Background information on the DEA, Office of Diversion
  • A fact sheet on prescription drug abuse
  • A DEA press release about the program

You can access this resource online here.