Get Rid of Unused Rx Drugs on Saturday

This Saturday is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day — and the perfect opportunity for you to rid your medicine cabinets of unwanted, unused and expired prescription medications.

There’s no need to keep unused prescription drugs in perpetuity — in fact, there’s every reason not to. In the past 10 years, prescription drug abuse has quadrupled and now results in more deaths than all illicit street drugs combined. To discourage theft and reduce the flow of prescription drugs in circulation, you have to get rid of them — but you have to do so properly.

If you toss prescription medicines in the trash or flush them down the toilet, they can make their way into groundwater and rivers, and ultimately harm wildlife. Here’s how to dispose of them properly:

Place the drugs in a sealed container such as the original bottle or a zip-lock bag (liquids should remain in the original container) and remove any personal information or obscure it with a permanent marker. Then place it in a secure prescription drug take-back box. There are three permanent boxes in our area:

  • Cheltenham: There is a drop box in the lobby of the Cheltenham Township Police Department (8230 Old York Road, Elkins Park; 215-885-1600), which is open from 6 a.m. to midnight daily.
  • Jenkintown: There is a drop box in the lobby of the Jenkintown Police Department (700 Summit Ave., Jenkintown; 215-884-1202), which is open on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Springfield: There is a brand new drop box in the vestibule of the Police Administration Building (1510 Papermill Road, Wyndmoor, PA 19038; 215-836-1601), which is open on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information on what you may and may not drop off (pet medications, for instance, are okay) at any drug take-back boxes, click here. Needles and intravenous and injectable solutions are not accepted.

At Montgomery County’s most recent Take Back Day in October — a semi-annual event when people are encouraged to drop off their unwanted meds at local police stations — nearly 8,000 pounds of medicines were collected.

For a list of other Montgomery County drop off locations, click here. If you have any questions about the prevention and treatment of addiction, call the Montgomery County Drug & Alcohol Office at (610) 278-3642.