Drug take-back policy expands to pharmacies, hospitals

Washington – The number of locations that will “take back” unused prescription drugs soon will increase.

In an effort to curb prescription drug abuse, a new final rule will allow pharmacies, hospitals and other authorized facilities to collect controlled substances for disposal, the Department of Justice announced Sept. 8.

In addition, prescription drug users will be able to mail unused medicine to collectors using prepaid packages from pharmacies and other locations, including libraries and community centers, Attorney General Eric Holder said in a video.

Effective Oct. 9, the rule expands on Drug Enforcement Administration take-back programs, which previously allowed people to return unused prescriptions to law enforcement, destroy them or get help from DEA.

“These restrictions resulted in the accumulation of pharmaceutical controlled substances in household medicine cabinets that were available for abuse, misuse, diversion, and accidental ingestion,” the rule states.

Prescription drugs led to more than half of the 41,300 unintentional drug overdose deaths in 2010, according to DOJ.

Members of the public can drop off medications at designated sites during National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Sept. 27.