Pharmaceutical Waste, National Drug Take Back Campaign

Sarah Noggle, OSU Extension Educator, Agriculture, and Natural Resources, Paulding County

What to do with your leftover medication?

Many Ohio residents have expired or unused pharmaceutical products in their medicine cabinets and don’t know what to do with them. Unused drugs can create a risk of unintentional overdose or illegal abuse if not properly disposed of. However, flushing medication in the toilet can contribute to water contamination and may cause harm to aquatic life. To safely dispose of leftover pharmaceuticals from the home, the best option is to take them to a collection event or permanent pharmaceutical drop-off.

The National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day addresses a crucial public safety and public health issue. According to the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 9.7 million people misused prescription pain relievers, 4.9 million people misused prescription stimulants, and 5.9 million people misused prescription tranquilizers or sedatives in 2019. The survey also showed that a majority of misused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet.

While Ohio EPA does not regulate the disposal of pharmaceutical products by consumers. The State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy has an excellent website with information for consumers, pharmacies, and others involved in the pharmaceutical industry. The website is The website has valuable information for drug disposal box locations, regulations, and additional resources. 

The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Take-Back Day events provide an opportunity for Americans to prevent drug addiction and overdose deaths. While we focus on the April 24, 2021 date as the official National Drug Take Back day, many locations across the state will have other dates of drop-off days. The DEA website helps identify other drop-off locations across the US and is Locally contact your local Solid Waste Management District or your local Sheriff’s Office for locations. 

For more information on the National Drug Take-Back program or agricultural topics contact Sarah Noggle, ANR Educator Paulding County at 419-399-8225 or To locate a county Extension Office or other personnel use the online search at This column is provided by the OSU Extension Agricultural Safety and Health Team at