Prescription drug take back programs show success

Photo of medSafe prescription drug disposal box 


October 25, 2019 – Fargo, North Dakota – Pharmacy students at the NDSU School of Pharmacy learn about patient care during their education and also how local pharmacists play a role in making their communities safer.

Statistics show that more than 7 tons of prescription medications have been collected in take back programs offered in North Dakota pharmacies, according to Mark Hardy, executive director of the North Dakota Board of Pharmacy.

The state’s Board of Pharmacy and the Pharmacists Association partnered with the North Dakota Attorney General’s office in 2009 to initiate the Drug Take Back program.

“Providing North Dakota citizens with widespread free access to properly destroy unused or unwanted controlled substances is a critical solution to prevent drug abuse and misuse,” said Hardy. “The Board continues to support and be encouraged by the widespread availability and use of the drug disposal program in North Dakota, including its availability in over 130 pharmacies with controlled substance disposal receptacles that comply with DEA standards.”

Statistics show that over half the time, individuals who may abuse or misuse controlled substances get their first exposure to these substances free from a friend or relative. Proper disposal of unwanted or unused controlled substances helps remove this exposure risk.

“Pharmacists are often the most easily accessible health care professional available to patients, especially in rural communities,” said Charles D. Peterson, dean of the School of Pharmacy and College of Health Professions at NDSU. “Ensuring that future pharmacists studying at NDSU learn about the role pharmacists can play in helping their own communities is also a key part of their education.”

In addition to helping to prevent abuse, taking your medicines to a DEA compliant drug take back program can reduce the amount of these substances getting into drinking water sources and waterways, impacting the environment, according to  

“North Dakota pharmacies are committed to helping fight prescription abuse and misuse and the Drug Take Back program is just one of many efforts taking place throughout the state,” said Michael Schwab, executive vice president, North Dakota Pharmacists Association.

Ask your local pharmacist about additional details and availability of the Drug Take Back program in your area and visit the North Dakota Attorney General’s Drug Take Back program webpage at for more information.

“Properly destroying controlled substances is critical to prevent future misuse and abuse of these substances especially by our youth,” said Hardy. “Pharmacies across the state have been willing to offer this convenient disposal option to the public as well as other programs, like ONERx, to continue to promote disposal options.

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