Medicine cabinets can often turn into a graveyard for those forgotten, old and unused medications. They are also a ready supply for children or those in your home who might be struggling with an addiction. Ignoring them or simply tossing them in the trash is not an option. If no other solution is available, you can safely dispose of them in dirt, kitty litter, and used coffee grinds. Most pharmacies allow drop offs for unused prescription drugs.

The Drug Enforcement Administration has been facilitating their National Prescription Drug Take Back Day for 20 years. According to the Take Back Day website, the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health showed that, “…a majority of misused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet.”

“DEA’s biannual Take Back Day events are critical to helping reduce overdose deaths and alleviate addiction by safely disposing of prescription medications that sit idle in the home,” said DEA Acting Administrator D. Christopher Evans. “DEA is committed to providing a safe and secure method for the public to rid their homes of potentially dangerous drugs.”

This year, the DEA collected 829,543 pounds (419.7 tons) of medication across the country. In Washington State alone, the program collected 15,558 pounds of unused prescription drugs. For the Pacific Northwest region, including Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and Idaho, the collection totaled 36,259 pounds at 182 collection sites.

But it does not just end there. Every day is a take back day. There are more than 11,000 year-round authorized collection sites across the country and those interested can visit Drug Dropoff to learn more about where, when, and how. You can also call your local law enforcement for their drop sites.

The official Take Back Day website,, provides many resources including treatment information for those struggling with substance abuse, ways to involve Take Back Day in your community, and an archive to find reports from past Take Back Days.