Drug Take Back Programs

Revised April 2022

Originally approved June 2016


The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) believes that development and implementation of drug take back programs for the safe disposal of unused controlled substances are an essential part of an effective approach to reducing the abuse of controlled substances. Further, ACEP believes that these programs should exist at no cost to patients and that there should be no legal sanctions against those who turn in unused controlled substances.

ACEP supports further research and implementation of innovations to support drug take back programs including novel drug disposal systems, text or web-based programs that prompt patients to dispose of unused drugs, and real time prescriber feedback to inform prescribers about how much drug was actually used.

ACEP supports community health innovations like the expansion of drug take back boxes into pharmacies and other healthcare settings and searchable databases to facilitate easy patient access to local, year-round drug-disposal locations.

ACEP generally supports legislative efforts to improve the drug take back infrastructure at the local, state, and federal level.

Download the Policy

[ Feedback → ]