Spring cleaning? Don’t forget your medicine cabinet!

Spring has sprung, and that means Americans are putting away their winter coats and giving their homes a good, spring cleaning.  One place in your home that might not be on your list as you dust and de-clutter, but should be? The medicine cabinet!  Just like the closet full of sweaters you haven’t worn in years or the freezer full of winter soups, the medicine cabinet should be cleaned out regularly so unused and unwanted medicines don’t collect over time.

Leftover drugs stored in home medicine cabinets can too easily get into the wrong hands.   In fact, according to the Partnership at Drugfree.org, more than four in 10 teens who have misused or abused a prescription drug obtained it from their parents’ medicine cabinet.   Easier access to prescription drugs has contributed to drug overdose deaths surpassing motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of injury and death in the United States.

Prescription drugs have become a deadly source of addiction for too many Americans.   Fortunately, this Saturday, April 26, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. local time, you can do your part to help curb prescription drug abuse in your community by encouraging your friends, neighbors and loved ones to participate in National Drug Take-Back Day.

National Drug Take-Back Day, which is sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and supported by Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies, is a nationwide effort to offer individuals and families a trouble-free and environmentally friendly way to rid their homes of unwanted prescriptions at local drop-off sites. Since its inception seven years ago, Take-Back Day has collected 3.4 million pounds—more than 1,700 tons—of pills from communities across the country. 

Responsible storage and disposal of your prescription medications is essential to keeping our communities healthy and safe.  We encourage you to participate in National Drug Take-Back Day this Saturday, and to follow these important drug safety and disposal tips from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration year round.

1. Take unwanted/expired medications out of their original containers and mix them with an undesirable substance, such as used coffee grounds or kitty litter.

2. Put them in a sealable bag, empty can, or other container to prevent the medication from leaking or breaking out of a garbage bag. Call 1-800-882-9539 if you need help finding a collection site.

3. Before throwing out the medicine container, scratch out all identifying information on the prescription label to make it unreadable. This will help protect your identity and the privacy of your personal health information.

4. Do not give medications to friends. Doctors prescribe drugs based on a person’s specific symptoms and medical history. A drug that works for you could be dangerous for someone else.

For more information about National Drug Take-Back Day and to find a collection site near you, visit www.dea.gov


The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is an association of 35 independent, locally operated Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield companies.