Play 10: Make provisions for safe disposal of unused opioids

An estimated two-thirds of teenagers who have misused prescription drugs get them from their family and friends, so many practitioners believe it is important to clear out medicine cabinets at home that contain unused drugs, particularly opioids. Doing so is not as simple as might be expected, however, as regulations require that law enforcement take custody of discarded controlled substances.

Many communities have organized annual drives during which people can give their unused controlled substances to the police, who then dispose of them in approved ways. Studies evaluating such take-back programs generally show positive outcomes, with recent research showing a more-positive impact for programs that allow drugs to be turned in at any time, rather than just once or twice a year. This play requires a methodology for collection and disposal, as well as a marketing/awareness effort to persuade people to participate.

Examples: A variety of take-back efforts exist around the U.S. The San Diego Police, for instance, have set up boxes for drug drop-offs at any time.

Goals and Objectives
The goal of drug take-back programs is simply to reduce the amount of controlled substances that are contained in readily openable places, such as home medicine cabinets. Objectives in many programs are stated in the specific amounts of drugs that are turned in.

Theory of Change
By reducing the amount of controlled substances that are easily obtained from friends and family, this program will prevent the development of substance use disorders by those who have ready access to these medicines without a prescription.