4/22/23: National Prescription Take Back Day

Medications can be very helpful for depression, anxiety, ADHD, bipolar disorder and many other psychiatric illnesses. Sometimes, it can take a few trials to find the right medication and dose to help you or your loved one to feel better.  What should you do with those left over medications after switching to something more effective or when you and your doctor decide medications are no longer necessary? 

Leftover medications should not be stored at home where others, especially children/ teenagers or people suffering from suicidal thoughts or addiction can access them.  Leftover opiate pain medications, benzodiazepine anxiety/panic medications and ADHD stimulant medications are particularly dangerous. However, even common prescription medications can be lethal if used during a suicide overdose attempt. 

It is generally not recommended to flush medications which can negatively affect the environment and drinking water. In emergencies when a Take Back Program is not easily accessed, some medications may be flushed per the FDA’s Flush List:  https://www.fda.gov/drugs/disposal-unused-medicines-what-you-should-know/drug-disposal-fdas-flush-list-certain-medicines#FlushList

National Prescription take back day is 4/22/23 from 10am-2pm

The DEA usually sponsors Prescription Take Back Days twice a year in April and October. The next event is April 22nd from 10am-2pm. You can find your nearest location at the following website:  https://www.dea.gov/takebackday#collection-locator

If you are unable to make that day or need to dispose of medications at other times of the year, the FDA website provides other options all year-round: https://www.fda.gov/drugs/disposal-unused-medicines-what-you-should-know/drug-disposal-drug-take-back-locations

For more information about safely disposing of unused medications, see the FAQ page on the FDA website.  https://www.fda.gov/drugs/disposal-unused-medicines-what-you-should-know/drug-disposal-questions-and-answers

Psychiatric medications can be lifesaving when appropriately and judiciously prescribed. If your medications are no longer working well, causing side effects or you have been feeling great for awhile and want to see how you feel without medications, be sure to talk to your psychiatric clinician BEFORE stopping medications. Your clinician will guide through a safe dosing taper to avoid physical side effects or sudden worsening of mood symptoms.

About the Author

Dr. Ticknor has been a Board Certified Psychiatrist for 20 years and enjoys working with adults aged 18-108 years old. She treats a wide range of mental health concerns including: anxiety, depression, bipolar spectrum disorders, stress and trauma, ADHD and insomnia using evidence-based treatments with an individualized, collaborative approach. When she is out of the office, she is usually taxiing teenagers to activities, walking her dog with her husband, and sneaking a few minutes of mindful relaxation on the back porch enjoying the sounds of the woods.

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