National Drug Take Back Day: LA, OC residents to safely dispose of unused drugs

Los Angeles and Orange County residents who want to get rid of expired, unused or unwanted drugs will have the chance to safely discard them Saturday at multiple locations during National Drug Take Back Day.

The effort, organized by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, in partnership with local law enforcement agencies, is intended to underscore the importance of taking commonly abused drugs out of circulation.

A complete list of dropoff sites is available at the link here. Most sites will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

"For more than a decade, DEA's National Prescription Drug Take Back Day has helped Americans remove unnecessary medications -- those that are old, unwanted, or expired -- from their homes," according to the DEA. "These medications can be a gateway to addiction, and have helped fuel the opioid epidemic."

In 2023, more than 110,000 people died from drug poisonings and drug-related deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. DEA officials said that according to a report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a majority of people who misused a prescription medication obtained it from a relative or friend.


During the last Take Back Day in October, DEA officials said 300 tons of unwanted medications were collected nationwide. Since the Take Back program began 14 years ago, roughly 8,950 tons have been collected.

According to the state Attorney General's Office, nearly 28,000 pounds of unwanted medications were gathered at California collection sites in October.

UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 26: Prescription drugs are pictured in Washington, D.C., on Monday, December 26, 2022. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

"By safely disposing of unused medications, we can prevent drug misuse and accidental poisoning while safeguarding our water sources and ecosystems by avoiding improper disposal of medications," Attorney General Rob Bonta said in a statement. "It's a simple yet impactful way to protect our loved ones, and I strongly encourage all Californians to drop off unwanted medications at safe disposal sites in your community this Saturday."

Collection sites will accept tablets, capsules, patches and other forms of prescription drugs. The sites will not accept any liquids, syringes, sharps, and illicit drugs.

The DEA noted that provisions in the federal Secure & Responsible Drug Disposal Act authorize pharmacies, hospitals and other facilities to serve as collection sites year-round.