Baltimore City Officials Urge Residents to Safely Dispose of Unused Prescription Drugs


Media Contacts:

Michelle Mendes: Office: (410) 396-7286, Cell: (443) 862-0891

During National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, residents can deposit medications at ten permanent return boxes across the city

BALTIMORE, MD (April 28, 2017) –  On Saturday, April 29th, Baltimore City officials will recognize National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, a nationwide initiative to highlight safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs in communities, while raising awareness about prescription drug addiction.

“We all have a role to play in keeping our families and community safe and healthy,” said Mayor Catherine E. Pugh. “This weekend, as we participate in the 18th Annual Mayor’s Cleanup throughout Baltimore City, I encourage everyone to remember to clean out their medicine cabinets and turn in any unused prescriptions.”

In 2015, Baltimore City introduced permanent prescription return boxes at ten locations across the city to allow individuals to safely and anonymously return any expired or unused medication, including prescription opioids, such as Percocet, OxyContin or Vicodin— with no questions asked.

“As an emergency physician, I have treated young children who accidentally take their parents’ or grandparents’ prescription medications, often with fatal consequences. I’ve seen how opioids can be misused and lead to the disease of addiction,” said Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen. “By disposing of unused medications, we can protect our loved ones from accidental overdose and stop the prescription drug addiction epidemic.” 

Prescription drug misuse is a serious issue in Baltimore City and across the country. In 2015, 105 people in Baltimore City died of prescription opioid-related overdoses. The same year, 12.5 million people aged 12 or older misused prescription pain relievers nationwide.

“The opioid epidemic and surge of overdose deaths in and around Baltimore requires an all-hands-on-deck response,” said Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis. “We need everyone’s help to limit the availability of prescription medications to children and to those who may misuse and abuse them.”

Rates of prescription drug misuse have been steadily increasing, and drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the United States. Studies show that the majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. Removing the presence of unwanted or unused prescription medications from the home helps ensure the safety of family and friends.

"The take back boxes provide a safe and anonymous way for people to dispose of unwanted or expired prescription drugs," said Crista M. Taylor, president and CEO of Behavioral Health System Baltimore. "We encourage residents to use take back boxes anytime they need to get rid of medications. These boxes are an important resource for our community that is available all year round."

During the October 2016 National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, Americans turned in more than 730,000 pounds of prescription drugs at 5,200 sites operated by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and more than 4,200 of its state, local and tribal law enforcement partners. In total, the DEA and its partners have taken in approximately 7.1 million pounds—more than 3,500 tons—of medications.

Medications can be dropped off at the following locations year-round, no questions asked:

  • Central District, 500 E. Baltimore St., 21202
  • Southeastern District, 5710 Eastern Avenue, 21224
  • Eastern District, 1620 Edison Highway, 21213
  • Northeastern District, 1900 Argonne Drive, 21218
  • Northern District, 2201 W. Cold Spring Lane, 21215
  • Northwestern District, 5271 Reisterstown Rd., 21215
  • Western District, 1034 N. Mount St. 21217
  • Southwestern District, 424 Font Hill Ave. 21223
  • Southern District, 10 Cherry Hill Rd, 21215
  • UM Baltimore Police, 621 W. Lombard St., 21201

To get help for a substance use disorder, individuals and/or family and friends can contact Baltimore City’s 24/7 Crisis Information and Referral line, 410-433-5175, for information on how to access treatment services. This phone hotline provided around the clock service 365 days a year.

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