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Safe Disposal of Drugs

Not a day goes by without more news of drug-related tragedies in our communities. But across the country, drug take-back programs are working to prevent these tragedies. The driving force behind these initiatives: Remove unused prescription and over-the-counter drugs from our homes to prevent misuse and encourage proper disposal of the drugs.

Having unused drugs in our homes poses a risk to family members and visitors. According to a survey conducted in Pennsylvania in 2015, “41% of prescription-drug-using students indicated taking the drugs from a family member living in their home.” Accidental ingestion is just as harmful as misuse. Young children, toddlers, and even pets are vulnerable.

National Drug Take Back Day

The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) started the national prescription drug take-back campaign in 2010 to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of expired or unused prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications.

How do I safely dispose of prescription drugs on National Drug Take Back Day?

Follow these guidelines:

  • Place all pharmaceutical drugs in a sealed container, such as the original bottle or a zip-lock bag.
  • Liquid pharmaceuticals should remain in the original container.
  • Personal information should be removed or marked out with a permanent marker.

You can dispose of:  

  • Prescription and over-the-counter solid medications.
  • Tablets and capsules.
  • Pet medicines.

You may not drop off:

  • Intravenous solutions.
  • Injectables, syringes, or needles (e.g., EpiPens); these need to be taken to a health care professional’s office or to a hospital for disposal.
  • Hydrogen peroxide.
  • Compressed cylinders or aerosols (e.g., asthma inhalers).
  • Iodine-containing medications.
  • Thermometers.
  • Alcohol or illicit drugs (e.g., marijuana, heroin, LSD).

UPMC locations

UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy have partnered with local security forces and the DEA to host Drug Take Back Day. Anyone can anonymously and at no cost turn in unused or expired drugs for proper disposal.

When and where

Friday, April 26, 2019 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Falk Pharmacy
Falk Medical Building, 2nd Floor Lobby

Forbes Pharmacy of WPIC
Oxford Building, 3501 Forbes Avenue, 7th Floor

Hillman Cancer Center/UPMC Shadyside
Ground Floor Atrium

UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
Outpatient Pharmacy Lobby

Main Lobby

UPMC Hamot
Women’s Hospital Lobby

UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital
Main Lobby, 1st Floor

UPMC Mercy
Cafeteria, Second Floor

UPMC McKeesport
1st Floor, Crawford Entrance

UPMC Passavant
Main Lobby, McCandless Campus

UPMC Presbyterian
Prescription Shop, 1st Floor

U.S. Steel Tower (employees only)
MyHealth@Work, Floor 12

Forbes Tower (employees only)
Main Lobby

Sherwood Oaks (employees and residents only)
Main Lobby

Additional resources

Drug Enforcement Administration’s phone number for drop-box program information and locations: 1-800-882-9539

Nationwide controlled substance public disposal locations.

Safe needle disposal locations or call 1-800-643-1643.