The proper use of medicine can prolong human life by helping to cure, treat, and prevent disease. However, failure to store and dispose of unused pharmaceuticals in a safe and environmentally responsible way can lead to serious health and safety risks.  Every 14 minutes, someone in the U.S. dies from an unintentional drug overdose, and more people die each year from overdoses involving prescription painkillers than from heroin and cocaine combined. In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control have classified prescription drug abuse as an epidemic in America. Moreover, among children, emergency room visits for accidental drug poisonings are twice as common as poisonings from other household products, such as cleaning solutions. Leftover medications also pose serious environmental risks if they are flushed or discarded in the trash, as they can enter our waterways, contaminating drinking water and harming aquatic life. The solution, commonly known as drug take-back, provides a simple and convenient way for consumers to dispose of their unused and expired medicines safely and responsibly. Drug take-back programs help reduce the safety and environmental risks associated with improper storage and disposal of pharmaceuticals by making leftover meds inaccessible to children, pets, and potential abusers. Some local police stations, pharmacies, community organizations, and governments, as well as the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), provide drug take-back collections. However, only a patchwork of collection options exists nationwide, and the vast majority of medicine sold in the U.S. is improperly discarded or stored in homes indefinitely.


What is PSI Doing on Pharmaceuticals?

How can you Take Action on Pharmaceuticals?