National Drug Take Back Day

Unused medication has been linked to concerning environmental and health issues across the country, when not carefully managed. Do NOT flush medications down the toilet or dump them in a drain. Wastewater treatment plants don’t have the capacity to routinely filter out various medications. Fish, birds and other wildlife are harmed when pharmaceuticals enter rivers and lakes.

The United States Drug Enforcement Agency is holding a National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on October 28, 2023 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Instructions are likely to be released closer to the day of the event. Check back for event updates here and here.

Throughout the year, there are several ways to properly dispose of unused medication. Police departments in Baldwinsville, Cicero, Geddes, Jordan, Manlius, Marcellus and North Syracuse have collection programs. Always be sure to call in advance to make sure the programs are still active when it is time for you to make a trip.

Last year, New York State approved proposals for two drug take back programs. You can search locations by zip code at According to the NYS Health Department, all manufacturers that sell medication in this state must participate and pay for the costs of the programs. Eventually, the goal is to provide medication drop boxes and mail-back options in certain chain pharmacies and other locations throughout the state.

Can’t make it to any of the drop-off sites? Disguise medication by mixing it with coffee grounds or rotten food scraps and put it in the trash where it is safely combusted at over 2,000 degrees and converted into electricity.

Getting rid of unused subscriptions as soon as possible can help combat drug abuse and addiction. In a 2021 national survey, 8.7 million people reported that they had misused prescription pain relievers. The drugs are often obtained from the home medicine cabinets of family and friends. Cleaning out your cabinet is safer for you and your family, as well as the fish, birds and other wildlife that make our community a more beautiful place to live.

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