I just read about this on Treehugger, and I wanted to pass it along even though it’s not specifically food related. This Saturday, September 25, 2010, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency is holding a National Take-Back Initiative. It’s a “collaborative effort with state and local law enforcement agencies to remove potentially dangerous controlled substances from our nation’s medicine cabinets.” You can easily find a collections site near you from the DEA’s website.

The purpose of this initiative is to get potential drugs that could be illegally used out of circulation and into the hands that can destroy them properly. Almost everyone has little vials of prescriptions that weren’t fully used sitting around in kitchen cabinets or medicine cabinets in their home. Sometimes those drugs end up in the wrong hands and can be extremely harmful.

Even if they don’t end up in the wrong hands, the reason that many of us have those drugs still in our cabinets is because we’re unsure how to dispose of them in a way that’s safe for the environment and for animals. This take-back day is a chance to get all of those old drugs out of your cabinets and easily dispose of them safely.

I’ve got a slew of prescriptions from when my mom was living with us after her open-heart surgery. Her prescriptions and the dosages changed very quickly, and often the pharmacy would automatically renew a prescription that she no longer needed. It would be picked up by a family member that was unaware of the changes. The prescriptions have been sitting in a bowl high out of reach of the boys for months, and I’ve been meaning to figure out how to dispose of them. Now I know.

A few things you need to know about the program.

This one-day effort is intended to bring national focus to the issue of increasing pharmaceutical controlled substance abuse.
  • The program is anonymous. 
  • Prescription and over the counter solid dosage medications, i.e. tablets and capsules accepted.
  • Intra-venous solutions, injectables, and needles will not be accepted.
  • Illicit substances such as marijuana or methamphetamine are not a part of this initiative.   

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Dispose of unused medicine safely
The Drug Enforcement Administration will take back your legal drugs this Saturday at a site near you.