For the second time since its inception in 2010, National Take Back Day (NTBD) will allow citizens to drop off and safely dispose of their e-cigarette devices and other vaping products. The biannual event, hosted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), has collected just under 12.7 million pounds of drugs as of October 2019. The latest NTBD takes place on October 24, 2020, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at thousands of drop-off points throughout the country.

national drug takeback day

NTBD was created to help Americans safely get rid of old or unused prescription medications — primarily to prevent children, teens and others from accidentally ingesting or abusing drugs. The scope of the substances accepted at NTBDs has recently grown, as October 2019 marked the first time that citizens could drop off vape devices and cartridges at NTBD events. The NTBD scheduled for April 2020 was canceled, which means locations may see even larger amounts of disposed e-cigarette materials.

Why Vaping Products Are Now Accepted

In 2018, over 20% of U.S. high schoolers reported past-month vape use — nearly double the amount of 11.7% in 2017. Many consider these 1-in-5 rates to indicate a youth vaping epidemic. Then, around August 2019, an outbreak of lung-related injuries caused by THC-containing vape cartridges emerged. As of February 18, 2020, there were over 2,800 hospitalizations or deaths in America from e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury (EVALI).

The combination likely spurred the DEA into adding vape devices to its list of substances that locations would take back. In a 2019 press release, DEA Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon stated the department was accepting e-cigarette products to “combat this emerging public health threat to the nation’s youth.”

It’s important to note that take-back locations cannot accept products with batteries still inside. If the battery cannot be removed, the device must be taken to a place that can dispose of or recycle electronics, such as an electronic store.

How to Dispose of Substances on National Take Back Day

In October 2019, there were nearly 6,200 disposal locations for NTBD throughout the United States. People interested in disposing of prescription drugs or vape products can find a location near them through the NTBD locator tool on their website. However, this is not the only time that someone can dispose of old medications. There are also permanent collection sites at many government, hospital or pharmacy locations, which can be found via a locator tool.

National Take Back Day and similar efforts allow thousands of Americans to stop their prescription drugs from causing potential harm to others. However, take-back locations do not allow people to dispose of illicit drugs.

If you or a loved one are struggling with a substance use disorder (whether it’s a legal drug or not), The Recovery Village is here to help. Contact us today to learn more about confidential treatment plans and programs that can help you begin the path toward a healthier, drug-free future.