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CDPH Urges Californians to Dispose of Unneeded Medications on Prescription Drug Take Back Day

April 24, 2024



Hundreds of Free Take-Back Events Planned Across the State on April 27

What You Need To Know: CDPH is encouraging participation in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on April 27, when hundreds of free take-back events will be held statewide. Take Back Day events provide a safe and free way to dispose of unneeded or expired prescription drugs and vaping devices.

Sacramento – The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is encouraging Californians to take part in National Prescription D​rug Take Back Day on Saturday, April 27. Hundreds of free take-back events will take place in communities across the state, where unused or expired prescription drugs or vaping devices – which are used to deliver a number of non-medical substances – can be disposed of safely.

Keeping unused or expired prescriptions at home is dangerous because of their potential to be accidentally ingested, stolen, or misused, said CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Tomás Aragón. “National Prescription Drug Take Back Day offers a simple solution for Californians to get rid of unneeded prescription drugs and vaping devices responsibly, which could save lives and helps protect the environment.

Details including where and when these events will happen can be found on the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Take Back Day website​, or by calling 800-882-9539. For one of the statewide events, CDPH's Food and Drug Branch is working directly with the DEA at the following location in Sacramento County:

Sacramento County Prescription Drug Take Back Event

Saturday, April 27, 2023

Barbara Morse Wackford Community and Aquatic Complex

9014 Bruceville Road

Elk Grove, CA 95758

10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Prescription medications in the form of pills, patches, and sealed liquids can be dropped off with no questions asked. Similarly, vaping devices (minus batteries) and cartridges – which can be used to deliver nicotine, cannabis (THC, CBD), may also be discarded. Sharp objects (sharps) like needles or syringes will not be accepted. For information on how to safely dispose of sharps waste, please visit the Safe Needle Disposal w​ebsite.

During the National Prescription Drug Take-Back event in April 2023, federal, state, and local law enforcement partners across the country collected 332 tons of unwanted prescription drugs. Of that, Californians disposed of more than 40,000 pounds of unwanted drugs.

Why This Matters: According to the 2022 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 8.5 million individuals misused prescription pain relievers, 4.3 million misused prescription stimulants, and 4.8 million misused prescription tranquilizers or sedatives in 2022. The survey revealed that the majority of misused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often sourced from home medicine cabinets. Removing unwanted and unneeded drugs from the house is an important way to keep loved ones safe.

Bigger Picture: National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is part of the state’s larger efforts to connect Californians with resources and information to prevent and reduce drug overdoses and deaths. Last year, Governor Gavin Newsom announced California's Master Plan (PDF) for tackling opioids and launched a comprehensive opioid website that gives Californians a single source of prevention, data, treatment, and support information.​

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