News Releases

News Releases

DHEC Encourages use of Take Back Day Events to Dispose of Un-needed Prescription Medications

April 20, 2021


COLUMBIA, S.C. — With opioid overdose responses remaining elevated in our state since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is encouraging residents to drop off unused, expired or unwanted prescription drugs during the 20th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on April 24.

This nationwide event is hosted biannually by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and provides a responsible way for the public to dispose of prescription drugs that might otherwise be stolen, abused or fall into the wrong hands. 

The public can drop off prescription medications at any of the more than 70 one-day collection sites across the state, which will also adhere to local COVID-19 guidelines and regulations.

Studies indicate that nearly 50 percent of abused prescription drugs come from family and friends — including from home medicine cabinets, according to the DEA.

“Eliminating un-needed prescription medicines from homes is an effective way to stop prescription drug misuse before it can put lives at risk,” said Emma Kennedy, director of DHEC's Division of Injury and Substance Abuse Prevention. “Take-back events are a convenient way for South Carolinians to help keep their loved ones and communities safe.” 

At the last Take Back Day held last October, DEA collected a record-high amount of expired, unwanted, and unused prescription medications, with the public turning in close to 500 tons of unwanted drugs across the nation.

Take back locations will collect tablets, capsules, patches, and other solid forms of prescription drugs. Liquids (including intravenous solutions), syringes and other sharps, and illegal drugs will not be accepted. DEA will continue to accept vaping devices and cartridges at its drop-off locations, provided lithium batteries are removed. 

  • For more information, to include takeback event locations and disposal guidelines, visit this DHEC webpage or the DEA Take Back Day website.
  • For those experiencing substance use issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a 24/7 support line available at 1-844-SC-HOPES (724-6737).
  • For information on opioid overdose prevention, the opioid antidote Naloxone, finding a recovery provider, pain management and overdose data, visit  
  • Additional information about DHEC opioid prevention programs for families and community organizations is available at



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