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


BALTIMORE, MD (APRIL 27) - On Saturday, April 28, 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.

“Making our City work better, look better and more livable for our citizens is my highest priority,” said Mayor Catherine E. Pugh. “Each of us has a responsibility and a capacity to contribute to beautifying the places where we work and live – to make our public and private spaces not only suitable but reflective of our best aspirations for Baltimore. I’m encouraging all our citizens to join in this 19th Annual Mayor’s Cleanup across our City this weekend. This is a perfect opportunity to make a difference in ways that matter and which contribute to a better quality of life.”

In 2015, Baltimore City installed permanent prescription return boxes at 9 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 children who overdosed from their parents’ or grandparents’ prescription medications,” said Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen. “Unused medications are dangerous and even fatal. Take your unused medications to the prescription drop boxes. Federal guidelines also say that it is appropriate to flush them down the toilet. We can all take important steps to prevent overdose and stop the prescription drug addiction epidemic.”

Prescription drug misuse is a serious issue in Baltimore City and across the country. In 2016, 113 people in Baltimore City died of prescription opioid-related overdoses. During the same year, an estimated 11.5 million people aged 12 or older misused prescription pain relievers nationwide.

“We have lost many lives in Baltimore City due to opioid overdose,” said Baltimore Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa. “We are calling on everyone to join us in our efforts – check your medicine cabinets and take the step of responsibly disposing of medication you may no longer need. Let’s keep our community safe together.”

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.

During the October 2017 National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, Americans turned in more than 912,000 pounds of prescription drugs at more than 5,300 sites. In total, the DEA and its partners have taken in approximately 9 million pounds—more than 4,500 tons—of medications.

Medications can be dropped off at the following prescription return boxes located inside police patrol stations year-round, 24/7, with 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

On Saturday, April 28, the University of Maryland Baltimore Police will be also be accepting prescription returns at 621 W. Lombard St., 21201.

According to federal guidelines from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, it is appropriate to dispose of unused prescription drugs at home by flushing them down the toilet. In addition, some pharmacies have mail-back programs and disposal kiosks for unused medicines. Ask your pharmacist for additional information. To find controlled substance disposal locations near you, click here.

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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