National Prescription Drug Take Back Day: DC-area residents can offload unneeded meds this Saturday

Combing through your medicine cabinet might be a part of your spring cleaning, and there’s an opportunity to offload those unneeded medications Saturday at dozens of drop-off locations around the D.C. area.

In partnership with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), D.C.-area agencies are encouraging residents to drop off needed prescription medications from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday on National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

Drop-offs are free and confidential.

The DEA says offloading those unwanted or expired meds can help reduce overdoses and make the community healthier.

Dr. Bruce Wollman with Kaiser Permanente told WTOP that keeping old pills from falling into the wrong hands can be a life or death matter.

“Medicines, while good on their own, can have interactions with other medicines a person might be taking. Or have complications that could put you in the hospital,” said Wollman.

Dozens of locations in the D.C. area are participating, including those in:

There’s also a drop-off site locator on the DEA’s website.

Participants can drop off tablets, capsules, patches and other forms of drugs. E-cigarettes and vaping devices (with the batteries removed) can be offloaded.

However, needles, pressurized cans and illicit drugs won’t be accepted. Liquids should be tightly sealed in their original container.

“Medicines that are no longer needed are completely destroyed,” said Wollman. “If you throw it away, who knows who might end up with it.”

According to Maryland State Police, the department collected more than 570 pounds of unneeded prescription medications during a take back event last October.

“If we can save just one adverse outcome, one life, it’s going to be incredibly worthwhile,” said Wollman.

More than 107,000 Americans died from a drug overdose in 2022, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

WTOP’s Matt Kaufax contributed to this report.

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Jessica Kronzer

Jessica Kronzer graduated from James Madison University in May 2021 after studying media and politics. She enjoys covering politics, advocacy and compelling human-interest stories.

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