National Prescription Drug Take Back Day occurs twice a year and is a day that is designated for people to drop off and dispose of prescription drugs that are expired or are not needed any longer. The next National Take Back Day will be held on October 26, 2019. This is the 18th National Take Back Day.

National Take Back Day provides a way to securely dispose of extra or unused prescribed medications. Many people who are addicted to prescription medications report obtaining these medications from someone else who was originally prescribed these drugs. By disposing of medications during National Take Back Day, people can remove these potentially addictive medications and help in the fight against addiction.

What is National Take Back Day?

National Take Back Day is an event that occurs twice a year, usually in the spring and fall, and is hosted by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The DEA is a Federal agency that regulates and enforces rules about the use and distribution of medications and other drugs within the United States. The DEA uses a no-questions-asked policy when collecting drugs during National Take Back Day and encourages people to utilize this opportunity to discard of unneeded medications.

There are some important restrictions on medications that cannot be dropped off during National Take Back Day. Medications that cannot be dropped off include:

  • Medications that include needles or sharps
  • Medications stored in pressurized containers
  • Any device or packaging containing mercury
  • Medications containing iodine
  • Illegal medications

How is NTBD Fighting Prescription Drug Abuse in Florida?

During the last National Take Back Day, Florida had a total of 185 collection sites, with 133 participating law enforcement agencies. The event removed 27,121 pounds of drugs from Florida homes.

During a 2018 National Take Back Day event, the Orlando Sentinel quotes DEA Acting Administrator Robert Patterson as saying: “The more unused painkillers or controlled drugs we can help to remove from homes, the more potential lives will be saved. We need the help of the public to dispose of this unwanted source of abuse. Take Back Day is an effective tool for addressing the opioid crisis in America.”

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection plays a role in promoting National Take Back Day activities in the state of Florida and regulating the disposal of the medications. By removing almost 14 tons of drugs in one day, the state of Florida helped to reduce the availability of these potentially addictive substances.

National Take Back Day Statistics

Since the first National Take Back Day, impressive amounts of prescription drugs have been removed from circulation. In the last National Take Back Day alone, the national statistics included:

  • 914,236 pounds (457.1 tons) of drugs removed
  • 5,839 participating collection sites across the country
  • 4770 participating law enforcement agencies

The amount of drugs removed since National Take Back Day was started by the DEA are staggering:

  • Florida: 333,012 pounds (166.5 tons)
  • Nationally: 10,878,950 pounds (5,439.5 tons)
Sources “Take Back Day.” 2019. Accessed April 15, 2019.

Florida Department of Environmental Protection. “Pharmaceutical Waste Management.” 2019. Accessed April 15, 2019. “16th National Take Back Day.” October 2018. Accessed April 15, 2019. “Take Back Day is April 27.” March 20, 2019. Accessed April 15, 2019.

Google Earth. “National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.” 2019. Accessed April 15, 2019.

Miller, Naseem. “Saturday is National Drug Take Back Day,[…] the Opioid Epidemic.” April 27, 2018. Accessed April 15, 2019.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.