October National Prescription Drug Take Back Day
Using Take Back Programs to Advance Substance Use Prevention Efforts
October 24 is the next Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. Prescription drug take back programs and events are a commonly used tactic for encouraging the safe disposal of unnecessary prescription drugs, with the DEA’s National Take Back Day being one of the most widespread. There are a variety of types of takeback programs: ranging from heavily promoted one-day events to long-term or permanent collection bins to secure mail-in systems. However, although relatively straightforward to implement and often popular with key community stakeholders, substance use prevention stakeholders should not consider a take back program to be a successful intervention by itself. Instead, it should be implemented alongside efforts to expand community education and outreach, as well as be used as an opportunity to promote additional collaboration.
Take back programs, especially events like the DEA’s National Take Back Day, can be highly visible events that offer prevention stakeholders an opportunity to engage with community members in further substance use prevention outreach and education. Prevention professionals should obtain or create prevention handouts, brochures, and other materials that can be given to community members. Additionally, take back programs can offer an opportunity for prevention professionals to work with stakeholders, such as law enforcement officers, that may not always be readily available. Building a relationship with these stakeholders through the development and implementation of the program could be the foundation for further collaboration in the future. The DEA provides information on the National Take Back Day here. Prevention training and technical assistance on these and other topics is available through the Central East Prevention Technology Transfer Center.