Prescription opioids (also known as prescription painkillers) are a category of commonly-prescribed narcotics. Prescription opioids are typically in pill form, but can also be patches or liquids, such as codeine cough syrup. When taken as directed by a medical professional, they’re relatively safe and can be beneficial. However, there is always a risk of addiction. And that risk increases greatly with duration of use and misuse.
Unused or expired prescription medications can contribute to contamination of our water supply if not disposed of safely.
To find a Drug Take Back location near you, use this interactive map:
Whenever possible, take your unused prescription drugs to a collection program or event – the Drug Enforcement Administration’s “Drug Take Back Days” happen, at minimum, in the spring and fall of each year. You may safely dispose of controlled and uncontrolled substances, over-the-counter medications, ointments, patches, creams, non-aerosol sprays, vials, and pet medications at these events. Learn more about the DEA’s “Drug Take Back Days.”
If your prescriptions contain narcotics or other controlled substances, contact your local Sheriff’s office and/or police department to find out if they will accept unwanted prescription narcotics. Some law enforcement offices will accept non-controlled substances too, but you should be sure exactly what yours will accept before dropping off items.
You can participate in mail-back programs for unused medications. Check with your doctor, pharmacy, or local police station to see if they offer mail-back packages. Legitimate packages should include pre-paid postage, unique ID numbers, and be pre-addressed to a location authorized by the DEA. Avoid leaving packages in unsecured mailboxes.
If you would like to offer mail-back programs through your office, or for more information on mail-back programs, refer to legal requirements found on the DEA website.