You can help save lives through proper disposal of unused, unneeded or expired medications through drop-off at a free, easy-to-use, DEA-authorized collection site near you.1
Participate in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on October 26
As a manufacturer of prescription opioids, we are committed to working to prevent diversion and ensure prescription drugs do not end up with people for whom they were not prescribed. Making sure medications are taken as prescribed, appropriately discontinued when they are no longer needed, and disposed of properly requires a collaborative effort among the health system, patients, and others working to be part of the solution.2
Proper disposal can limit the possibility of sharing, theft, poisoning, diversion, and non-medical use of prescription drugs, preventing harm, drug addiction and overdose deaths.3,4Safe disposal programs are supported by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).3,5,6
Everyone can help reverse trends regarding prescription drug diversion, misuse, addiction, and overdose by cleaning out their medicine cabinets and returning any unused, unneeded or expired prescription or over-the-counter drugs to approved locations. On Saturday, October 26, the DEA’s 18th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, thousands of authorized disposal sites will be available across the country for safe return. Through the DEA’s website, you can find the collection site nearest you.
The FDA recommends removal of all personal information on the label of pill bottles or medicine packaging before using a drug take back option to dispose of prescription medicines.7 If a take back program is not readily available, medication disposal instructions can be found in the information you received along with your prescription medication, or you can ask your pharmacist to recommend appropriate disposal methods.5
To help prevent diversion, we’re seeking to raise awareness of the DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, when every American can play a role in helping to properly and safely dispose of unused, unneeded or expired medications. A survey study sponsored by Purdue and published by the peer-reviewed Journal of Pain Research this year showed that those who received education about the importance of safe disposal were approximately three times more likely to dispose of their unused opioid medications.8
As part of our commitment to doing our part to prevent diversion, in past years we’ve developed and deployed a bottle tracking program to address theft of medication from pharmacies, with more than 500 devices employed in more than 30 states, leading to over 190 arrests and clearance of more than 200 robberies. We’ve also developed and deployed Radio Frequency ID technology to track medication bottles and protect against counterfeiting and diversion.
Misuse of prescription drugs left accessible to people other than those to whom they were prescribed poses a clear threat to the public health – a national survey done by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that 53 percent of people aged 12 or older who misused prescription pain relievers in the past year reported that they obtained the pain relievers most often from a friend or relative.9
Since the first National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, 5,908.2 tons of prescription medications have been collected for proper disposal.10 We at Purdue see this as progress in preventing diversion, but there’s more to be done. Through safely disposing of unused prescription opioids and other prescription medicine, everyone can play a part in helping to save lives.1
1 Drug Enforcement Administration. DEA National Rx Take Back: Unused Medicines. Accessed September 30, 2019. Retrieved from https://takebackday.dea.gov/.
2 American Society of Addiction Medicine. Public Policy Statement on Measures to Counteract Prescription Drug Diversion, Misuse and Addiction. Accessed September 30, 2019. Retrieved from https://www.asam.org/docs/default-source/public-policy-statements/1-counteract-drug-diversion-1-12.pdf?sfvrsn=c732a35f_0.
3 U.S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration. National Take Back Day. Accessed Sept 10, 2018. Retrieved from https://takebackday.dea.gov/.
4 U.S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration, Diversion Control Division. National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. Accessed Mar 7, 2019. Retrieved from https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/.
5 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Water. How to Dispose of Medicines Properly. April 2011. EPA 816-F-11-003. Accessed Mar 7, 2019. Retrieved from https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-06/documents/how-to-dispose-medicines.pdf.
6 U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Disposal of Unused Medicines: What You Should Know. 2018. Accessed Mar 7, 2019. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/BuyingUsingMedicineSafely/EnsuringSafeUseofMedicine/SafeDisposalofMedicines/ucm186187.htm.
7 U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Drug Disposal: Drug Take Back Locations. Accessed September 30, 2019. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/drugs/disposal-unused-medicines-what-you-should-know/drug-disposal-drug-take-back-locations.
8 Buffington DE, et al. Understanding factors that contribute to the disposal of unused opioid medication. Journal of Pain Research. 2019;(12):1–8.
9 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. National Survey on Drug Use and Health Annual Report: 2017. Accessed Dec 19, 2018. Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/data/report/2017-nsduh-annual-national-report.
10 17th National Take Back Day. Drug Enforcement Administration, Diversion Control Division. Accessed September 24, 2019. Retrieved from https://takebackday.dea.gov/sites/default/files/NTBI%2017%20Totals-April2019.pdf.