DEA National ꝶ Take Back Day

Is your medicine cabinet full of prescriptions that are outdated or no longer being taken? The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is a United States federal law enforcement agency under the U.S. Department of Justice tasked with combating drug trafficking and distribution within the United States. Each year there are take-back events to provide safe disposal of prescription drugs. The DEA uses this event to help prevent medications from falling into the wrong hands.

In the United States, there is a drug overdose epidemic that is “a clear and present public health, public safety, and national security threat. DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day reflects DEA’s commitment to American’s safety and health, encouraging the public to remove unneeded medications from their homes as a measure of preventing medication misuse and opioid addiction from ever starting.”

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day occurs two times a year in April and October. In April of 2021, according to, the event collected 839,543 pounds (420 tons) of unwanted, unused, and expired medications for disposal.

The City of Phoenix posted a “Proper Disposal of Medications” flyer to assist in the disposal of medications. The flyer states:

How Can You Help?
• Do not flush medications down the toilet or put down the sink
• Wastewater Treatment Plants do not treat or remove medications
• Residual drugs may harm people and the environment
• Follow these steps to safely dispose of medications.

  1. Contact your Pharmacy of Medical Office
    Many large pharmacies have installed safe medication disposal kiosks in their store.
    Check these websites to see if one is available in your area:
    Arizona Department of Health Services Rx Drug Drop-Off Locations
    Drug Enforcement Administration Controlled Substance Public Disposal Locations
  2. Drug Take Back Event
    A list of medication drop-off events in Maricopa County, Arizona can be found at the Maricopa County Attorney’s Event Calendar.
  3. City of Phoenix Police Department Drop Boxes
    The following convenient locations have medication disposal drop boxes for pills, patches, ointments, vitamins, samples, pet medications, and prescription drugs. Needles, sharps, aerosols, inhalers, medical waste, lotions, liquid medicines, and thermometers are not permitted.

Police Downtown Headquarters 620 West Washington Street, 85003
Black Mountain Precinct 33355 North Cave Creek Road, 85331
Cactus Park Precinct 12220 North 39th Avenue, 85029
Central City Precinct 1902 South 16th Street, 85034
Mountain View Precinct 2075 East Maryland Avenue, 85016
Maryvale-Estrella Mountain Precinct 2111 South 99th Avenue, Tolleson, 85353
Maryvale Prescient-Substation 6180 West Encanto Boulevard, 85035
South Mountain Precinct 400 W Southern Avenue, 85041

  1. Dispose at Home
    Mix medications with cat litter or used coffee grounds and place them in a sealed disposable container or plastic bag. Throw away the container in the trash. Be sure to cover up or remove personal information from medicine bottles or containers before throwing the empty container in the trash.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), almost all drugs can be disposed of in the household trash, but only after consumers take the precautionary steps. If you are unsure how to safely dispose of your medication, please participate in your community drug take-back events or find a drop-off location near you.

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