New Yorkers Urged to Participate in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, April 30

121 healthcare facilities also will participate in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

Drug Disposal at Participating Locations is Anonymous and Free

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 29, 2022) - The New York State Departments of Health and Environmental Conservation and the Office of Addiction Services and Supports today announced they are again partnering with the Drug Enforcement Administration and local law enforcement to participate in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, April 30, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. New Yorkers may dispose of prescribed medications, including controlled substances, along with vaping devices and cartridges at one of the 156 participating locations across the state. Locations can be found using the online collection site locator tool. This service is anonymous and free.

"National Prescription Drug Take Back Day provides people with the opportunity to rid their medicine cabinets of potentially dangerous, expired and unused prescription drugs, as well as vaping products," said New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. "We are proud to be working with other state agencies, the DEA and local law enforcement to encourage New Yorkers to take this easy step to help keep their families and communities healthier."

In October 2021, the last time this event was held, Americans removed almost 745,000 pounds of unneeded prescriptions from medicine cabinets across the country. In New York, 121 healthcare facilities will participate in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day in addition to the law enforcement sites available to the public. These residential health care facilities, such as nursing homes, will dispose of their own unused and expired medications to further reduce the potential of diversion of dangerous controlled substances.

The DEA can only accept pills or patches, not liquids, needles, or sharps.

According to the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 9.7 million Americans misused prescription pain relievers, 4.9 million people misused prescription stimulants and 5.9 million people misused prescription tranquilizers or sedatives in 2019.The survey also found that most of the misused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, there are concerns about unused pharmaceuticals getting into the wrong hands. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which has declared this public health threat an epidemic, nearly 841,000 Americans have died from drug overdoses since 1999, more than 70,000 of them in 2019 alone.

New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS) Commissioner Chinazo Cunningham said, "Safe and secure disposal of unwanted or expired medications is one important way to prevent potential misuse of medications. These events help support our ongoing work to address addiction across the state, reduce risks of overdose, and give New Yorkers the chance to take an active role in prevention efforts in their communities."

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "National Prescription Drug Take Back Day provides the perfect opportunity to dispose of all outdated and unneeded medications in a responsible, safe way to protect our communities, loved ones, and our environment. Flushed medications are found in New York lakes, rivers and streams and can negatively impact our waterways, fish and other aquatic wildlife. I am grateful to DOH and all our partners in this continued effort to remove these potential chemical threats from entering our waterways and encourage all New Yorker's to participate in this year's take-back day."

Over the last several months, more than 5,000 prescription deactivation bags have been distributed to communities across New York State through OASAS-funded prevention providers. These bags support the State's efforts to reduce availability of prescriptions for non-medical use.

Typical methods for disposing of unused medications, including throwing them in the trash or flushing them down the toilet, pose potential health, safety and environmental hazards.

To further protect New York's water quality and also help address the opioid crisis, DEC launched a statewide pilot pharmaceutical take-back program in 2017 to offer a year-round opportunity for people to dispose of medications that are no longer needed. Nearly 437 retail pharmacies, hospitals, and long-term care facilities are currently participating in this Pilot Pharmaceutical Take Back Program. Locations are spread across the state and provide New Yorkers with a safe, convenient, and environmentally responsible way to properly dispose of their unwanted medications. To date, the program has collected more than 151,000 pounds of controlled and non-controlled medications. For a map of medication collection kiosks in New York State, please visit DEC's website.

In March of 2021, the New York State Department of Health (DOH) issued final regulations that require drug manufacturing companies to fund drug take back programs, similar to DEC's pilot program. The New York State Drug Take Back Act (DTB) mandates that manufacturers establish, fund and manage a New York State-approved drug take back program(s) for the safe collection and disposal of unused covered drugs. Pharmacies of 10 or more establishments within NYS and non-resident pharmacies that provide covered drugs to NYS residents by mail must implement such programs by providing consumers with a pre- approved method(s) of collection and disposal, free of charge to the consumer and pharmacy. This program will be administered by the drug manufacturers with direct oversight by DOH's Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement. DEC and DOH drafted the final regulations and will continue this work as the manufacturer-funded program is further developed and implemented. For more information, see:

For more information about the disposal of prescription drugs or about National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, visit the DEA Diversion website.