DEA Will Gladly Take Your Old Drugs Off Your Hands On Saturday

Have you been staring at that half-full (or is it 2/4 empty?) bottle of Vicodin sitting on your bedside table and wondering, “Should I throw this in the trash, take a bunch and pretend I’m Hugh Laurie, or sell them to some college kids for a huge profit?” If so, then the Drug Enforcement Agency has an answer: Give the pills to them during this weekend’s National Take-Back Day.

Between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday (9/25), the DEA and other law enforcement agencies will be accepting legal drugs — no pot, meth, coke, or Christmas Cheer — at over 3,400 locations around the country.

If you’re interested in finding out where to divest yourself of those 6-year-old penicillin pills, or to see which of your neighbors brings the largest bag of pills, click here for a searchable list of locations.

The initiative is intended to curb prescription drug abuse and to curb theft of said medications.

Explained Acting Deputy Attorney General Gary G. Grindler in a statement:

With this National Prescription Drug Take-Back campaign, we are aggressively reaching out to individuals to encourage them to rid their households of unused prescription drugs that pose a safety hazard and can contribute to prescription drug abuse… The Department of Justice is committed to doing everything we can to make our communities safer, and this initiative represents a new front in our efforts.



Edit Your Comment

  1. OmniZero says:

    Oh good. I’ve been wanting to get rid of some Xanax I have. Got it for flying and it is no good to me, so out it goes!

  2. ash says:

    We have a once yearly program called MedDrop where they will accept any kind of drug, including illegal drugs (no questions asked). I do not see why they are not accepting illegal drugs so they can be destroyed.

    • DJ Charlie says:

      Strangely enough, I see nothing saying the collected drugs will be destroyed.

      • aaron8301 says:

        The DEA DOES accept illegal drugs. And in exchange, they give you nice silver bracelets and a concrete room to sleep in.

    • Marlin says:

      They don’t accept illegal drugs as it would open to many loopholes for drug dealers and users in that time period. This is a Federal Agency doing this so anything they do can and will be used in court.
      i.e. Someone gets pulled over they could get an article and say they were on their way to give the drugs to the DEA during that time.

      • CookiePuss says:

        Couldn’t people use the excuse of taking the drugs they just “found” to the police station any day of the year? Not that it would hold up. I’m just saying someone could say they found a bag of dope near a playground and picked it up to bring to the police station as they didn’t want to leave it near where children play.

        • Marlin says:

          You would have to prove that the police even accept them and how long did you know etc…

          With this you, DEA/GOV, are telling people its ok to travel with illegal drugs on that day.

          Long shot but to many chances to muddle it up and make something that sounds good make them, DEA, look bad.

  3. Alvis says:

    Meth IS a legally prescribed drug.

    • pop top says:

      Crystal meth is not, methamphetamines are.

      • Alvis says:

        Crystal meth IS methamphetamine.

        • Bremma says:

          Powerthirst is Crystal Meth!

        • pop top says:

          Yes, it’s in the methamphetamine family, but its chemical composition isn’t specifically prescribed as a medication. Better?

          • Alvis says:

            There’s no “family” here – no substituted compounds. Street “crystal” meth and the prescription stuff for narcolepsy contain the exact same chemical.

            • Mr.Grieves says:

              Yes they both contain the same active ingrediant they are after. But street meth usually has a lot of different additives that are not beneficial towards your health.

          • tmac40 says:

            Alvis is right. Crystal Meth is exactly the same as the prescribed methanphetamine. The only differences are physical, unless the crystal meth is tainted. That is the reason that Crystal Meth is a schedule 2 drug and not schedule 1. It has legitimate medical uses.

          • RiverStyX says:

            You lose this argument squinko..’Tina’ and amphetamines are the same thing. When prescribed, its used for narcolepsy. When abused, well, you know..

    • RiverStyX says:

      So is Angel Dust, aka Phencyclidine..Think of it like mixing LSD with Meth. That’s a schedule 2 drug, right up there with meth.


      ..Yet pot is schedule 1. Pretty funny eh?

  4. xamarshahx says:

    can’t you just dump them in the trash and save yourself the time and hassle???

    • Willie Derp says:

      Yeah, I don’t get. Break it up and dump it or flush it.

      • Veeber says:

        Depends on what the medication is. The worst thing you can do is flush it, since those medications are really hard to get out of our water supply. We’re already feeding fish way too much of our medications.

        Dumping it can be ok, depending on the medication. Pain killers are attractive targets for addicts. FDA has some recommendations on their site.

        • FredKlein says:

          Imagine an Olympic sized swimming pool. Now, imagine a drop of sewage. Just one drop, from an eye dropper. Imagine dropping that one drop of sewage into that Olympic sized swimming pool.

          That’s how much we humans pollute the oceans.

          Okay, it’s not really. But it makes a nice visual. Our pollution is probably more like cup, maybe cup-and-a-half of sewage.

          • Arcaeris says:

            So would you swim in that pool, or not?

            I’d rather take my chances and make a pool that has no sewage in it, considering it takes only a minimal amount of effort.

            • FredKlein says:

              If you have ever swum in a public (or even most private) pools, I guarantee you that you have swum in worse. Kids pee in pools, you know. Some even poop. Or throw up. Blow their noses underwater. (And I’m not even gonna mention people with sores or women on their periods.)

              All these things ‘contaminate’ the pool, just like smoke from a fire ‘contaminates’ the air. But a cubic foot of smoke, released into a large room will not be noticed, much less affect you.

              The point being, a handful (lets say 1 cup= 236 cubic centimeters) of pills won’t really make much of a dent in 1,344,420,000 cubic _kilometers_ of water.

              • yusefyk says:

                Yes but it might “make a dent” in your local river or aquifer.

              • Putaro says:

                There’s a difference. The major hazard from poop, sores, etc. is infection. Dump enough chlorine in and you can kill almost any germ or virus. However, drugs are chemicals that cause some kind of effect in organisms. Their effect is not changed by sterilization. They have to be removed or broken down.

                For example, let’s replace that cup of poop with a cup of cyanide. Would you like to swim now? How about a cup of some chemotherapy drug? Cup of LSD?

          • NatalieErin says:

            There’s more to “the water supply” than just the ocean.

        • RiverStyX says:

          So the addicts are disposing of them in their own way, while saving the planet by both not contaminating the earth with either the drugs or their presence. Whats the problem?

      • myCatCracksMeUp says:

        Does no one read anymore?

      • javert says:

        Seriously? Flush it? Wow, how large is the rock you live under?

      • Gizmosmonster says:

        Flush it right into our drinking water. Bad Idea.

    • BuyerOfGoods3 says:

      they worry about someone finding it – – nevermind the numerous stories of Groundwater being contaminated because of people IMPROPERLY DISPOSING (trash/toilet) of medications.

      Bad stuff.

    • Flower Of High Rank says:

      Agreed. This seems…kind of silly. Flush ’em.

    • RiverStyX says:

      Google ‘Hudson River GE’ for epic win. You know they dumped pcb’s in the water for 20 years, then it took 20 years for them to acknowledge wrongdoing and just recently started dredging? Right, and guess who made GE pay? Eliot Spitzer, the man you all condemned for nothing more then his personal lifestyle and the decisions he made as a consenting adult.

  5. BuyerOfGoods3 says:

    You know…I just got a sample pack of some pills, and a prescription I do not want. I wonder if they’ll take that. Along with the tip that my psychotherapist is a drug pusher, more than any street hood i’ve ever encountered.


  6. Macgyver says:

    Can’t you just can drop it off at any doctors office, or flush it down the toilet.
    Why have a special day to get rid of them

    • ash says:

      No, a doctor’s office will not accept drugs for disposal. And flushing them down the toilet will get into the water supply (water treatment systems are not able to screen out drugs). Generally, it’s recommended that if you have Rx drugs that have potential for abuse, you should try to throw them away in something that ppl will find unappealing to dig through like kitty litter or coffee grounds.

      • RiverStyX says:

        Doctors offices and pharmacies usually do accept old drugs for disposal. Especially Psych outpatient ones – I would know because I work at one and we have several signs posted that we take them =)

    • DariusC says:

      Why get rid of them? Why not use them when you have the problem again? As long as you are around the same weight, not taking any other pills and have no more conditions than you had before, you should be okay to go!

      Seriously, I keep all my Level 5 cold medication (the ones the perscribe you) in case I get a nasty cold again. Screw going to the doctor again! Jeez…

  7. AI says:

    If you want your name added to a DEA list, by all means drop your old drugs off.

    • mac-phisto says:

      don’t worry – drop off comes with free tin foil hat.

      • tmac40 says:

        This isn’t a tin foil hat thing. Make no mistake if you do this, they will document who you are and what you dropped off.

        • Crim Law Geek says:

          And when they ask you for ID and you say “no”, what are they going to do? They can’t arrest you for having legally prescribed drugs, and they can’t take the drugs from you, or force you to produce ID. So how are they going to track you?

          • lordargent says:

            You need your ID to prove that those legally prescribed drugs are prescribed to you.

            Otherwise, you’re just some dude with a bag of drugs in containers with someone’s name on them.

      • AI says:

        Keep thinking the DEA is just doing this as a service to the public. Because they’re all about helping people.

        It’s not a conspiracy theory, it’s a cost benefit analysis. For the DEA to spend this money, there has to be some benefit for them, which is definitely not feeling good from helping people. So what do you think the benefit the DEA is receiving from this? The answer can only be information about the people disposing the drugs.

        • mac-phisto says:

          For the DEA to spend this money, there has to be some benefit for them.

          actually, no. the DEA is a government agency, which means all they need to spend money is authorization from congress. that said, there is a benefit. in fact, there’s multiple benefits. here’s a few that you should have been able to identify already:
          –reduced proliferation of the most highly abused category of drugs – “In 2008, 15.2 million Americans age 12 and older had taken a prescription pain reliever, tranquilizer, stimulant, or sedative for nonmedical purposes at least once in the year prior to being surveyed.” ( )
          –venue for educating consumers about the dangers of nonmedical prescription drug use.
          –venue for educating consumers about the importance of proper disposal of prescription drugs.

          finally, DEA doesn’t need voluntary drug drives to gain access to what’s in your medicine cabinet – they already have it. i suggest you start your research on this issue with these terms: PDMP & NASPER. then you’ll understand why a voluntary disposal program as a way for generating a list of prescription drug users is so ridiculous.

    • morgasco says:

      They’re not collecting personal information. My wife’s volunteering at the event, along with many other pharmacists/pharmacy students.

  8. cmdr.sass says:

    Do not flush your old medication down the toilet. Idiots.

    • AI says:

      Yeah, throw it in the garbage. No chemicals in those pills are more dangerous than any of the used glues or epoxies I throw out. And modern landfills are well lined.

  9. dr_drift says:

    Just another example of the government favoring legal drug users over illegal users. I have half an eight ball of coke that’s just been gathering dust in my drug den, and I can’t seem to give the stuff away.

  10. DaveBoy says:

    throw them in the trash or drop them in toilet and you may have them return in you food and water.

  11. PanCake BuTT says:

    Something tells me that whatever is turned in, could be reprocessed and/or repackaged & resold. More profit !

    • OnePumpChump says:

      Better yet, DEA agents could plant it on suspects.

    • bd_ says:

      That would be violating so many FDA regulations it’s not even funny. They have _no idea_ if the stuff you’re turning in is (or was) real drugs or not and it’s degraded over potentially years of storage in suboptimal conditions. There is literally no way to get that stuff into a usable form without somehow recreating new, high-purity raw materials from it – which would be more expensive than simply burning the drugs until they break down into safe products, then creating new drugs through new raw materials.

  12. fs2k2isfun says:

    That’s great. Nothing within 25 miles of me. And I live in a hot bed of drug smuggling from Mexico.

  13. HogwartsProfessor says:

    Awesome! There’s one nearby on Saturday, right up a street on which I drive home from skating practice. I’m going to dump the stupid ulcer stuff I was prescribed that did nothing but make me feel worse, and some leftover painkillers.

    Don’t forget if you do this to take the prescription label off the bottle. You should do it anyway if you throw it away.

  14. Kevin says:

    For it to be a “take back” it would have come from the DEA. I’ve never gotten a prescription filled by them, have you?

  15. AlfredaCosta says:

    Does this include prescription meds for pets?

    • fs2k2isfun says:

      Lots of pet drugs are also sold as human drugs, often under the same name. I would see no reason for the DEA to turn down drugs intended for animals.

    • NatalieErin says:

      The article I read in our local paper did specifically mention pet medications, but maybe double check with them if you aren’t sure.

  16. myCatCracksMeUp says:

    This is good. I’ve got several old medications that I need to get rid of. As others have mentioned, flushing or trashing is not a good idea.

    Of course, I’m keeping the Vicodin; about once a year or so, something happens that causes me to need a 1/2 a pill.

  17. ellmar says:

    Saw a sign at Walgreens pharmacy last night to wit – for “only $2.99” you could purchase a postage paid envelope into which you stuff your unwanted Rx meds and have them disposed of in what was purported to be an “environmentally friendly” manner. The idea of paying to do this pissed me off greatly. The greenwashing only added to the insult. Bite me Walgreens.

  18. GreatWhiteNorth says:

    Why is this necessary? Does the DEA not have real crimes to deal with? Like the cancer patient self medicating with MJ? (Low blow, sorry DEA.)

    Can you not just take the unused/unwanted medications back to the pharmacy for disposal (destruction not resale)? I can in my home town.

    Also, for the folks who want to flush them… Please do not flush medications. Most of our drugs are very hard on the natural environment and do not break down quickly. This results in high background levels of these drugs in our drinking water among other places and will reduce the effectiveness of the drugs over time.

    • evnmorlo says:

      The DEA apparently is naive enough to believe those people who say someone stole their old medication and sold it for $50 per pill.

    • Putaro says:

      That was my first reaction as well. Talk about mission creep. I don’t even see the point – they’re legal drugs. Law enforcement should focus on law enforcement.

  19. RandomHookup says:

    If you show up early, there will be a swap meet in the parking lot. Trade that old Nexium for a little Viagra.

  20. merekat says:

    The top three sites near me are cop shops. I don’t think so…

  21. jefeloco says:

    I like to grind up my old meds and mix them with yogurt, fruit and vodka. Way better results than with just the vodka alone.

  22. SarasiPolyxena says:

    In Canada you can just bring them into any pharmacy, any time. I’d just kind of presumed that it was the same down south too.


    I’d still trade our Rx disposal for your Hulu any day.

  23. phrekyos says:

    When my mother passed away recently, we just took all her leftover prescription drugs back to the pharmacy for disposal. They had no problem taking them. I thought they all did that?

  24. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot says:

    My pharmacist lets me bring in any drugs (prescription or OTC) that I don’t use for disposal. I actually thought every pharmacy does this, and didn’t realize that a specific “take back” week had to be scheduled.

  25. Mr.Grieves says:

    I say we nuke them from orbit..

    It’s the only way to be sure.

  26. BytheSea says:

    But, like, you dont’ get money or anything? Why bother to turn them in? It’s not a gun, you can just dump them down the toilet.

    • MountainCop says:

      Uh, please don’t flush them down the commode. Seriously. The active and inactive ingredients do enter the food and water chain. Minute amounts to be sure, but over time, you can build up a tolerance to them. Then they don’t work when they actually are prescribed (antibiotics come to mind here). Most municipal water systems are just not equipped to filter out these ingredients.

      Also, some people (admittedly a very few) are violently allergic to some medications – antibiotics and narcotic pain relievers. Hasn’t happened yet, but hey, wait for it.

      I take mine back to the pharmacy where I bought them. They’re more than happy to dispose of them properly (incineration with the smoke scrubbed with carbon filters).

      And you would be surprised at the amount of prescription drug misuse. It really is a bigger problem than you think – and you REALLY don’t want that person in a car heading towards you at 70 MPH…

  27. oldwiz65 says:

    Somehow I wouldn’t trust the government agencies for this. The local newspaper says it’s completely anonymous at the local police station, but don’t forget that everyone entering the station is seen and recorded on videotape. However, why would the DEA care if I get rid of some old prescription meds that have my name on them? They probably already have a full list of every prescription I’ve ever taken for the last 20 years. And what if someone just has a bag of pills with no bottle; do you really believe they would let you drop this off? They would be way to interested in possibility of it being crystal meth, but why would a crystal meth addict give up his hard earned junk?

    • NatalieErin says:

      So, you’re aware that the DEA can already access anything you’ve been prescribed, and you’re aware that anyone actually interested in doing or trafficking illegal drugs isn’t going to be interested in this program. And yet you still believe there’s some sort of ulterior motive. What, pray tell, would that be?

  28. OIFVet says:

    Yep wonder what the DEA plans to do with all those drugs? Thats how this country survives money wise, gotta keep the drugs circulating but they are the only ones allowed to do it!

  29. kujospam says:

    Hopefully they will gather it all up and dump it in a toilet.

  30. f0nd004u says:

    I’m kind of a drug hoarder. I have antibiotics, several different anti-depressants, painkillers, etc. You never know when you’re gonna need em.