National Prescription Drug Take Back Day – Prevent drug misuse before it starts by Alina Lopez 

We’re all aware of the war on drugs campaign that started in the 70’s and has spilled over the decades until present day, but a most recent epidemic has taken the country by storm. Too often, unused prescription drugs find their way into the wrong hands. The opioid overdose epidemic is a clear and present danger to public health, safety, and national security. In 2019, nearly 50,000 people died in the U.S. due to opioid related overdoses.  

Unlike illegal drugs that can be more difficult to access, prescription drugs can be found in your own home such as the medicine or bathroom cabinets. They are prescribed legally by a doctor for pain management, anxiety, and a myriad of other illnesses and conditions. Prescription drug use most of the time also lacks the taboo and disapproval that accompanies illicit drug use. After all, it is legal and prescribed by a physician, right? Well, unfortunately, most first time abusers of painkillers obtain them from a friend or relative. A national survey found an estimated 1.4 million people in the U.S. abused prescription pain killers for the first time. Unneeded medications could end up lost, stolen, or simply misused. Keep them safe. Clean them out. Take them back.  

The DEA, Drug Enforcement Administration, is hosting their annual National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on April 30, 2022 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. to reflect their commitment to remove unneeded medications from homes as a measure of preventing medication misuse and opioid addiction from ever starting. Miami-Dade Police Department is participating once again this year and you can take your unwanted prescription or over-the-counter medicines to any of the police district stations, no questions asked. It provides a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing medications while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of such substances. In October 2021 alone, the DEA collected 744,082 lbs. of unwanted medications.  

If you’re not able to take your meds on that day, there are other alternatives to safely discard medications you no longer need or use. Year round, drug stores such as Walgreens, CVS, and local pharmacies have designated drop off locations where you can take those medications. If there’s no other choice but to throw them away at home, be sure to follow these guidelines to ensure safe disposal.  

  • Take your medications out of their original containers. 
  • Mix drugs with an undesirable substance, such as cat litter or used coffee grounds. 
  • Put the mixture into a disposable container with a lid, such as an empty margarine tub or sealable bag. 
  • Conceal or remove any personal information on the empty containers with permanent marker or duct tape. 
  • The sealed container with the drug mixture can now be placed in the trash. 

For more information on the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, visit www.dea,gov. 

To contact our office, call 305-470-1670 or visit 

Until next time, be aware, make good choices, and be safe!  

Written By: Alina Lopez

Citizen’s Crime Watch of Miami-Dade

Citizens’ Crime Watch is a nonprofit county-wide crime prevention program funded by the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners, grants and donations.