North Dakota’s Drug Take Back Program: An Effective Way to Get Rid of Unused Medicines

Drug Take Back Program

People often have difficulty is disposing unused medication and expired medications. Medications are one of the primary causes of poisoning household poisoning episodes. Therefore, unused drugs should be disposed of as soon as their usage isn’t required.  In order to minimize the risk of drug poisoning, North Dakota initiated a “Drug Take Back Program” in 2009 sponsored by the ND Attorney General.

This friendly initiative allows people to take the medications to secure sites. North Dakota is the only state that enables citizens to dispose the unwanted prescription medicines free of cost all across the state. The medications are disposed in a safe, convenient, and uncontaminated fashion. Learn more about the effective and environment-friendly program below:

Acceptable Drugs

The collection points accept the following over-the-counter medicines and prescription drugs:

  • Liquid medicines regardless of the quantity left in the containers (to be deposited in the original containers);
  • Creams, lotion, ointments, powder, inhalers and nebulizers (these are supposed to be left in the original containers);
  • Caplets, pills, or tablets (to secure patient identity and confidentiality, these are to be separated from the original containers); and
  • Controlled medications (these are supposed to be deposited in the special “take Back” containers):
    • Pain relief medicines like Demerol, Hydrocodone, Vicodin, Fentanyl, and OxyContin etc.;
    • Sleeping pills like Sonata, Ambien, Lunesta etc.; and
    • Antidepressants like Pozac, Valium, and Zoloft etc.

Deposit Expired/Unused Medications at the Law Enforcement Agencies

The ideal way to deposit the unused and expired medicines is to drop them off at the participating law enforcement bodies, such as the local police department. There aren’t any time constraints and the medications can be deposited at convenience. There is a drop box outside the local police departments where the drugs can be left. However, the controlled medications are supposed to be deposited only in the “Take Back” containers only, which can be obtained from the local law enforcement agency.

Deposit Expired/Unused Medications at Participating Local Pharmacies

The second option to get rid of the unused medications is to bring them to those pharmacies in the vicinity that are participating in the Take Back program. You will have to deposit the drugs in the recommended way in the drop boxes.

Neither of the programs accepts the following:

  • Thermometers, glass, and sharps;
  • home-based care equipment
  • Durable medical supplies or pharmacy equipment

You can ask the local pharmacist of the proper way to dispose such items. Additionally, it is strongly recommended that if for some reason, you are not able to visit the participating pharmacy or the police department; you should not flush the drugs down the toilet. Remove the labels from the drugs are throw them separately. It is best to crush or pulverize the drugs in powdered form before throwing them away.

The State of North Dakota disposed of more than 7.6 tons of unused prescription medications and unwanted drugs in October 2016, which were collected from the participating local pharmacies and law enforcement agencies. It is a social responsibility to dispose the drugs in a protected eco-friendly manner and keep them off the streets and our homes.