DEA to hold 20th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

April 20, 2021  |

DEA to hold 20th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

Opportunity to clean out and secure home medicine cabinets


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – With opioid overdose deaths increasing during the pandemic, the Drug Enforcement Administration is holding its 20th Take Back Day on Saturday, April 24th. DEA’s October 2020 Take Back Day brought in a record-high amount of expired, unused prescription medications, with the public turning in close to 500 tons of unwanted drugs. Over the 10-year span of Take Back Day, DEA has brought in more than 6,800 tons of prescription drugs. With studies indicating a majority of abused prescription drugs come from family and friends, including from home medicine cabinets, clearing out unused medicine is essential.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. has seen an increase in overdose deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic, with 85,516 Americans overdosing during the 12-month period ending August 1, 2020, the most ever recorded in a 12-month period. The increase in drug overdose deaths appeared to begin prior to the COVID-19 health emergency, accelerating significantly during the first months of the pandemic.


“As the nation’s overdose death toll continues to rise, it’s now more important than ever to safely dispose of any medications you no longer need in your home medicine cabinet,” said Special Agent in Charge Todd Scott, head of DEA’s Louisville Division.  “This is a great opportunity for all of us to work together, to make our communities safer by keeping prescription drugs out of the wrong hands.” 


“It’s important to keep our own homes safe by regularly cleaning out medicine cabinets and any other areas where we store our pharmaceuticals,” said Acting Administrator D. Christopher Evans. “Bringing unused or expired medications to a local collection site for safe disposal helps protect your loved ones and the environment.”


The public can drop off potentially dangerous prescription medications at collection sites which will adhere to local COVID-19 guidelines and regulations in order to maintain the safety of all participants and local law enforcement.


DEA and its partners will collect tablets, capsules, patches, and other solid forms of prescription drugs. Liquids (including intravenous solutions), syringes and other sharps, and illegal drugs will not be accepted. DEA will continue to accept vaping devices and cartridges at its drop off locations provided lithium batteries are removed.  


Helping people dispose of potentially harmful prescription drugs is just one way DEA is working to reduce addiction and stem overdose deaths.  


Learn more about the event at or by calling 800-882-9539