Drug Disposal Toolkit

Drug Disposal Resources

With opioid abuse and opioid addiction becoming more and more prevalent in the United States, efforts are being made by attorneys general, law enforcement organizations and medical professionals to educate consumers about the best methods of disposal of opioids when no longer needed for treatment. Drug disposal facilities, drug take-back days and mail-back programs are being created in many communities across the nation for safe and environmentally protective disposal.

The United States Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration website includes a helpful page which consumers can access in order to locate drug disposal locations and drop off boxes. It also contains rulemaking and regulation information pertaining to drug disposal.

Drug Disposal Toolkits

These toolkits provide helpful information and guidance for those interested in organizing drug take-back days.

The National Safety Council  created a resource titled Prescription Drug Community Action Kit: Safe Medication Disposal Guide. This guide is for communities who are interested in starting or enhancing their medication disposal programs. 

Ohio Department of Health, working with Cardinal Health Foundation, and other state agencies, produced a toolkit /guide titled Medication Disposal Day Guidelines to assist pharmacists, community members and other health professional to coordinate drug disposal programs.

Partnership for Drug-Free Kids developed a comprehensive toolkit/guide titled Safe Drug Disposal – A Guide for Communities Seeking Solutions. This guide provides information on how and by whom drug disposal programs can be developed and implemented in communities. This guide also includes a helpful overview of the DEA guidelines.

The American Society of Consultant Pharmacists created a STAMP Out Prescription Drug Misuse & Abuse Toolkit focused on improving safe medication use in older adults, including disposal of unused medication.

Mail-Back Programs

The United States Postal Service is working in conjunction with the Drug Enforcement Agency to provide safe and secure mail-back opportunities for the disposal of prescription medications.  Details of procedures to be followed are included at this link.

Attorney General Office Programs

Below is a non-exhaustive list of attorney general programs. Please contact Joanne Thomka, NAGTRI Program Counsel to add additional office programs to this list.

Indiana: The Indiana Attorney General has partnered with the Yellow Jugs Old Drugs Program to provide consumers with permanent drop box locations at participating pharmacies.  Additionally, the Attorney General has developed educational materials through the Bitter Pill initiative.

Montana: The Montana Attorney General has created permanent prescription drug drop locations across the state and developed guidelines for proper drug disposal.

New Jersey: The Attorney General’s Office of Consumer Affairs has developed an initiative entitled Project Medicine Drop, which allows consumers to dispose of medications anonymously at any time through permanent drop boxes located at participating police departments.  The office has also developed useful consumer education materials. 

 North Dakota: The North Dakota Attorney General launched a Prescription Drug Take Back program in 2009 and has partnered with local law enforcement agencies around the state to collect and dispose of the unwanted and unused drugs.

Ohio: The Ohio Attorney General’s Office provides free collection boxes to local Ohio law enforcement through a partnership with the Ohio Department of Health and the Drug Free Action Alliance. 

Virginia: The Virginia Attorney General has developed resources, including a tip card with directions for the proper disposal of prescription drugs as well as a national Take Back Day flyer. 

Wisconsin: The Wisconsin Attorney General, together with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and other state partners, has developed an extensive consumer and prescriber education campaign, entitled Dose of Reality. 

Other Helpful Resources

National Association of Boards of Pharmacy website.  

National Conference of State Legislatures has compiled legislation relating to state prescription drug return, reuse, and recycling laws. 

United States Environmental Protection Agency has established guidelines for household disposal medicines, information for organizers of Take-Back events and information for hospitals, pharmacies and other businesses with unwanted medicines.

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