East Hawaii News

Annual Prescription Drug Take Back Scheduled

September 12, 2015, 10:26 AM HST
* Updated September 12, 10:29 AM
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As part of the state’s participation in the 10th annual National Take Back Initiative, residents on the Big Island can take prescription medicine, including tablets, capsules, and solid dosage forms of medications to either the Hawaii Police Department Kona Station parking lot, located at 74-0611 Hale Makai Pl., or Ke Waena Lapa’au Medical Complex, located at 670 Ponahawai St. in Hilo, on Sept. 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The events are a partnership between the Department of the Attorney General, the Drug Enforcement Administration and State Narcotics Enforcement Division, and the Department of Public Safety. They are free, anonymous, and “no questions asked.”

“This is a great opportunity for those who have missed the previous events or who have subsequently accumulated unwanted, unused prescription drugs to safely dispose of those medications,” said Attorney General Douglas Chin. “Prescriptions expire and collect on people’s shelves over time and simply throwing drugs in the trash may be risky. The Take Back initiative promotes safe disposal of prescription drugs.”

Unused or expired medicine should be properly disposed of when it is no longer needed for the illness that it was prescribed for, since medicine can lose their effectiveness after the expiration date, and improper use of prescription drugs can be as dangerous as illegal drug use.

In addition, unused and expired medication can increase the risk of accidental poisoning in homes with children and the elderly. Medicine can be mistaken for another type of medication, or children can confuse prescription medication for candy.


Improper disposal of medication, like throwing it in the trash or flushing it down the toilet, can lead to potential dangers, such as entering the human water supply or harm aquatic life.


“DEA is enthusiastic about working in conjunction with the community and our state and local counterparts in the 10th National Prescription Drug Take Back. Prescription drug abuse is at dire levels, so please participate and rid your home of unused, unwanted or expired prescription medications,” says Robin Dinlocker, Assistant Special Agent in Charge.

Rates of drug abuse in the United States are at alarming rates, according to the DEA. Studies show that many abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, and many Americans do not know how to properly dispose of their unused medicine, often flushing them down the toilet or throwing them away – both potential safety and health hazards.

“NED will continue to ensure that the citizens of Hawai’i have a means to dispose of their outdated or unwanted pharmaceutical controlled substances. NED and its partners will continue to host take back events on all islands to ensure secure methods of collection and destruction of prescription medication to make sure these drugs do not get into the wrong hands and cause traffic outcomes,” said Keith Kamita, Administrator of the Narcotics Enforcement Division of the Department of Public Safety. “NED has also initiated a program to place secure drop boxes to be located in select police departments and hospitals that would be serviced by NED Special Agents, giving the public a secure means to getting rid of their unwanted or expired pharmaceutical medication at their convenience.”


Take Back events throughout the nation from 2010-2014 have collected 2,422 tons of drugs. Since 2010, Hawai’i has collected 16,778 pounds of drugs.

New or used needles and syringes will not be accepted.

To learn more, visit the DEA or Hawai’i State Attorney General websites.

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