News Release

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day to be Held September 26

Sep 21, 2015

On September 26, the public is encouraged to safely dispose of prescription and over-the-counter medications at over 50 locations throughout metropolitan Washington, from 10:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is a nationwide event to promote the safe disposal of expired and unwanted medications.

The initiative is being promoted in the region by COG and regional partners, including law enforcement agencies, water utilities, and health officials. Proper medication disposal keeps our communities safe by preventing drug abuse, accidental ingestion, and the contamination of our water supplies. The service is free and anonymous.

To find the nearest medication disposal site, visit

“With over 50 take-back locations in the region, residents can conveniently get rid of medications while preventing water pollution and unintentional drug use,” said DC Water’s Nicole Kaiser, who serves as Chairwoman of the COG Community Engagement Campaign for the region’s drinking water and wastewater utilities.

“We encourage the region’s residents to take advantage of this program, an important effort to prevent the abuse or misuse of leftover prescription medications,” said City of Takoma Park Police Chief Alan Goldberg, who serves as COG Police Chiefs Committee Chairman. “We are pleased to be working alongside our area health officials and water utilities to emphasize not only the public safety benefits, but also the water quality environmental benefits of proper medication disposal.”

For those who cannot make it to a take-back location on Saturday, a list of permanent, secure disposal locations in the region is posted at

With the exception of controlled substances, many unwanted medicines can be discarded with household trash by following the instructions below. If you are unsure if your medication is a controlled substance, consult a licensed pharmacist or check local laws to determine if trash disposal is an option.

1. Take prescription drugs out of their original containers.
2. Mix drugs with an undesirable substance, such as cat litter or used coffee grounds.
3. Put mixture into a disposable container that can be sealed, like a plastic bag.
4. Conceal or remove any personal information on empty containers, including Rx number, by covering it with permanent marker or by scratching it off.

For more information, check out the Proper Medication Disposal Factsheet.

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