Take Meds Back – Colorado Program to Safely Dispose of Drugs

Take Meds Back helps Coloradans safely dispose of unused and expired prescription and over-the-counter medications. Safe disposal keeps meds like opioids, sedatives, and stimulants from being misused or abused. It also helps protect Colorado’s precious environment and wildlife. The best way to get rid of household medications is to take them to the nearest secure collection box. Communities, pharmacies, and government and law enforcement agencies are working together to install secure drop boxes across Colorado.

Getting rid of old or unused meds using a safe disposal box or a take back event is the best way to ensure they won’t be misused or stolen. Colorado has a program with more than 100 secure take back boxes at pharmacies and law enforcement agencies. Many pharmacy chains are committed to safe disposal as well, and have take back boxes conveniently placed inside the pharmacy. You also can go to National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, which takes place the last Saturday of April and October. Local police departments also sponsor take back days. Meds collected this way are securely disposed of, usually by incineration.

Protecting the Environment

Medication that is flushed down the toilet can enter the environment, potentially harming humans and wildlife while contaminating our water. Tests often show trace amounts of medications in drinking water, and studies have shown that animals and people have tested positive for prescription medications, even if they have never taken them directly.

Throwing meds away also isn’t safe, as they can be taken from trash and used illegally. If you must throw your medications away, you should mix them with coffee grounds, kitty litter, or something similar. The Environmental Protection Agency has safe disposal guidelines you can consult.

However, the best and safest option is to use a safe disposal program, and with the more boxes and events, it keeps getting easier.

Host an Event or Start a Take Back Box

The state makes it easy to start a take back program—and even pays for it. You also can work with a local law enforcement agency to sponsor an event. Learn more by watching this video or downloading a guide about how to start a take back program or host a take back event.

Learn more about becoming a prescription drug take back partners at CORXConsortium.org