Did you know that prescription drugs can be just as dangerous as street drugs when taken without a prescription or under a doctor’s supervision? That is why on Saturday, Oct. 28, local law enforcement agencies and the Drug Enforcement Administration are partnering to host DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. DEA and its partners will collect tablets, capsules, patches and other prescription drugs. 

For more than a decade, the event has helped Americans easily rid their homes of unneeded medications — those that are old, unwanted, or expired — that too often become a gateway to addiction. A major goal of the event is reducing access to opioids that were not prescribed for a medical purpose. It’s a safe and free opportunity for people across the nation, including many in rural communities, to dispose of old or unused medications in a convenient and discreet way. 

Take Back Day offers free and anonymous disposal of unneeded medications at approximately 5,000 local drop-off locations nationwide. In partnership with local law enforcement, Take Back Day has removed 8,650 tons of medication – about 400 tractor trailer loads – from circulation since its inception. 

Farm Bureau is encouraging farmers, ranchers and other rural residents to participate in Take Back Day, to help ensure prescription drugs don’t end up in the wrong hands. Their participation is important because the opioid crisis is impacting rural America at an alarming rate. 

According to research conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of the American Farm Bureau Federation, nearly half of all rural adults (42%) say they know someone who is or has been addicted to opioids or prescription painkillers. And two in five (40%) rural adults say it is easy for someone in their community to access a large amount of prescription opioids without needing them for medical purposes. 

Removing unneeded medications from our homes can help prevent medication misuse and opioid addiction from ever starting. 

A few points to keep in mind when preparing for Take Back Day are below.

  • Collection sites will not accept syringes, sharps or illicit drugs.
  • Liquid products, such as cough syrup, should remain sealed in their original container. The cap must be tightly sealed to prevent leakage.
  • Find a collection site near you at www.DEATakeBack.com. Participating sheriff’s departments, local police stations and other locations will accept unneeded prescription medications for disposal. 

Be sure to visit AFBF’s Farm State of Mind website for additional information on opioid misuse. Here you’ll find hotline numbers, treatment options and prevention resources.


Cyndie Shearing is a director of communications at the American Farm Bureau Federation.