Safe medication disposal saves lives

By Regence
April 22, 2021
DEA Drug Take Back Day 2021

Regence supports National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, April 24

While the opioid epidemic existed well before the pandemic, the events of this last year have escalated the crisis and demand for solutions to address it. The latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest an acceleration of overdose deaths over the last year, the highest number of overdose deaths ever recorded in a 12-month period.

We can all play a part in preventing drug addiction and overdose deaths by disposing of unwanted prescriptions and securely storing medications—and it’s easy to do.

Safely dispose of medications on DEA Drug Take Back Day

Saturday, April 24 marks the next National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, a twice-yearly event sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., drop off unused, unwanted or expired prescription medications (including opioids), e-cigarettes and vape pens to safe disposal collection sites.

The DEA offers a list of collection sites nationwide, many of which are open year-round. You can find one near you by entering your ZIP code in the Drug Take Back Day collection locator.

DEA Drug Take Back Day
During the last DEA Drug Take Back Day in October 2020, people across the U.S. safely disposed of over 492 tons of unwanted medications

Best practices for safely storing and disposing of medications at home

If you are unable to participate in DEA Drug Take Back Day this weekend, you can make a difference year-round at home. Not all medications can or should be flushed down the sink or toilet when no longer needed, and only some prescriptions or over-the-counter drugs can be thrown in the trash. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration offers information for safe disposal of medication at home.

Additionally, the CDC recommends storing medications out of children’s reach and sight. Never leave medications on counters or surfaces within easy reach of curious hands. The CDC also recommends telling guests who may have medications stored in their purse or coat pockets to securely store them out of sight.

Regence is committed to addressing the opioid epidemic in our communities

Regence health plans are committed to decreasing the misuse of opioids through a variety of initiatives while still supporting appropriate use for people who can benefit from opioid treatment. In the last five years, we have reduced opioid prescriptions among our health plan membership by 51%.

Learn more about how we’re pushing back against the opioid epidemic and supporting our communities.