Prescription Take-Back Day on Saturday

by Katie Pyzyk September 25, 2012 at 1:55 pm 3,461 19 Comments

If you’re doing some fall cleaning, it might not be a bad idea to include the medicine cabinet on the checklist. This Saturday (September 29) is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.

Stations will be set up throughout the country and right here in Arlington for residents to turn in any expired and unused medications. In addition to preventing drug abuse and theft, the initiative helps to prevent drugs from being disposed of improperly, such as being flushed down the toilet or thrown in the trash.

The Drug Enforcement Administration runs the program, in cooperation with local officials. During the last such event in April, residents around the country turned in a record breaking 276 tons of unwanted drugs.

“While a uniform system for prescription drug disposal is being finalized, we will continue to sponsor these important take-back opportunities as a service to our communities,” said DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart in a statement. “Our take-back events highlight the problems related to prescription drug abuse and give our citizens an opportunity to contribute to the solution. These events are only made possible through the dedicated work and commitment of our state, federal, local, and tribal partners and DEA thanks each and every one of them for their efforts on behalf of the American people.”

The disposal service is free and there are no questions asked.

The following Arlington locations will participate in the drug take-back from 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. on Saturday:

  • Arlington Fire Station #1, 500 S. Glebe Road
  • Arlington Fire Station #8, 4845 Lee Highway
  • Arlington Fire Station #9, 1900 S. Walter Reed Drive
  • Pentagon Parking Lot, 551 Army Navy Drive

The following two locations will not operate on Saturday. Instead, they will be open from 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. on Friday, September 28:

  • Arlington Hall Station Building 1, 111 S. George Mason Drive
  • Ft. Myer Commissary, 523 MacArthur Circle


  • JimPB

    Don’t put unused RXs down the drain. Medicines are being detected in rivers and other bodies of water, and water treatment systems are not equipped to remove them.

    (P.S. There’s a story in the amazing array of stuff that folks dispose of by flushing the stuff down the drain and that is subsequently”filtered” out at sewage treatment plants.)

    • Tabs

      Flushed birth control pills are factoring into lower sperm counts and man boobs.

      • Tabs

        Sorry, should have just typed ‘moobs’

        • WeiQiang

          … and ‘lowspounts’

  • SnArl

    What’s an unused prescription, anyway?

    • nom de guerre

      I’ve got some used suppositories.

      • craig2

        you would

      • Bad One….

        “I’ve got some used suppositories.”

        What were they used for ??

  • kevin

    Anything wrong with just throwing them away?

    • Greg

      Arlington County’s website says to throw unused medications in the trash. I’d be interested to hear why the author here says that is improper.

      • Ever See A…..

        Ever see a squirrel on hyrdocodone ??

        • curious george

          Well the one time I was on Demerol I saw lots of things but no squirrel.

          • Squirrel On Drugs

            Well the one time I got my paws on a LSD laced walnut, I didn’t see any monkeys so I guess that we are even…..

    • Say it Ain’t So

      No way am I throwing out my expired Vicodan…. every once in awhile…. :}

  • Laura

    The advice is VERY contradictory. I actually called CVS to ask them how to dispose of a very potent cough syrup that is only dispensed w/a doctor’s prescription and they told me to flush it down the drain. I could NOT believe what I was hearing. I thought federal (state? local?) protocols existed to do this, but it’s apparent nothing really exists, so most people I think flush it down the toilet, throw it in the trash. I wish events like this got more publicity.

    • b0rk

      They are idiots. DON’T FLUSH YOUR MEDS! Do you enjoy drinking your neighbor’s birth control? What about your other neighbor’s anti-psycotics? Keep medications out of the water supply and turn them in annually instead so they can be disposed of properly.

      • doug drabek

        Yes, actually I do. Thanks

  • GodFila

    Sorry can’t make it this time — maybe I’ll
    be available for Bath Salt Sunday (a new
    U2 tribute).

  • hoyacougar

    The fda’s site says that most of the waterway drug contamination comes from human waste, not drugs thrown out. Most drugs can be safely tossed in the garbage. That’s all they’re going to do at the fire station.

    ‘Despite the safety reasons for flushing drugs, some people are questioning the practice because of concerns about trace levels of drug residues found in surface water, such as rivers and lakes, and in some community drinking water supplies. However, the main way drug residues enter water systems is by people taking medications and then naturally passing them through their bodies, says Raanan Bloom, Ph.D., an environmental assessment expert in FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Most drugs are not completely absorbed or metabolized by the body, and enter the environment after passing through waste water treatment plants.”


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