This spring, remember to clean out any unused and expired medications.

Any medications can become a health hazard if they are left unsecured in the home. In some cases, prescriptions might be taken by someone to whom they were not prescribed. In other cases, someone might take more over-the-counter (OTC) medicine than the label says to take. Whether it happens on purpose or by accident, these forms of drug misuse can lead to illness, addiction, overdose, or even death. If you are currently taking any prescription or OTC medicines, store them in a secure location and be sure to always follow the instructions on the label. Safely dispose of any unused and expired medications to prevent them from being misused or polluting our water.

The box below has more information about two convenient ways to dispose of old medicine safely.

Drug Take Back Days

A person in a car reaches through their driver's side window to drop unused medication into a collection bucket being held by a police officer at a Drug Take Back Day event.

RAYSAC partners with Western Virginia Water Authority, Prevention Council of Roanoke County, and others to host DEA Prescription Drug Take Back Days twice each year, usually in April and October. At these events, anyone can drop off unused medications with law enforcement officers. They will take the collected medicine directly to an incinerator to be destroyed.

The next Take Back Day is Saturday, April 30, 2022, from 10am – 2pm. You can find a list of collection sites in the Roanoke Valley at and our flyers in English and Spanish.

Year-Round Disposal Boxes

Image of a young woman placing a prescription pill bottle into a secure medication disposal box.
These secure disposal boxes can be found in pharmacies, clinics, and law enforcement offices around the Roanoke Valley. They work just like Take Back Days – simply collect your unused medicine and drop them in! Trained professionals will regularly empty the box and transport the contents to an incinerator. These secure disposal boxes are available year-round, so they are incredibly convenient to use while you go about your errands.

You can find a list of nearby medicine disposal boxes at

Getting rid of unused medicine is an easy and effective way to reduce the number of unneeded medications in your home. When there are fewer unneeded medications in our community, there is reduced risk for these drugs to be misused. These medicine disposal efforts also help protect our water. Medicine that is flushed down the toilet can get into our streams and lakes, so Take Back Days and disposal boxes are a great way to get rid of unneeded medication and protect our water at the same time.

You can also help prevent drug misuse by storing any current medications in a secure location. This place should be away from the reach of small children and secured by a lock that only you know the combination to.

The next box has three pictures of some locking medicine containers that you can scroll through. RAYSAC will be giving away lots of these containers at our upcoming Take Back Day on April 30, along with some other useful items! We will have a limited supply of giveaways at Take Back Day, so come early or contact us if you need one.

We hope to see you at the next Take Back Day, but you don’t have to wait until then! You can gather any unused and expired medications today, and you can always use a year-round disposal box to get rid of unused or expired medication.

All of us at RAYSAC thank you for safely disposing of unneeded medication and helping prevent drug misuse as we work together to

Limit Access, Reduce Misuse, and Protect Our Water.

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