There will be dozens of places where residents of D.C., Maryland and Virginia can go to hand in no longer needed prescription drugs on Saturday as part of National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.
Dr. John Dooley, a board certified physician with Foxhall Internists, told WTOP that handing in prescription drugs is a safe way to avoid someone getting their hands on them who shouldn’t be taking them, such as children.
“A lot of times, we accumulate prescriptions — both prescription and nonprescription, really — in our medicine cabinets … and they remain there only to be found by young people or young kids who don’t know what they’re taking, and they take pills thinking they’re candy or some other treat, and wind up with an accidental poisoning,” Dooley said.
Most prescription meds can be safely thrown in the garbage, but Dooley said that medications that have a potential for abuse — such as painkillers and some antipsychotics — should be brought in on Take Back Day.
“You can take back any drugs you want, no questions asked. You don’t have to give a name — you just bring your drugs … and bring them back to the collection centers, and they’ll be disposed of safely with no risk to young people or older folks,” he said.
Dooley also stressed not to toss expired or unneeded drugs into the toilet, as water treatment plants are sometimes unable to remove the chemicals in the drugs, and they stay in the water when it passes through the plant and become environmental hazards.
The Drug Enforcement Agency has a list of centers that are participating in Take Back Day that is searchable by ZIP code.