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Military Health System

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Drug Take Back Program

The Military Health System established the Drug Take Back program to help beneficiaries properly dispose of their prescriptions and over-the-counter medications.

  • The program is available at all military pharmacies in United States and Puerto Rico.
  • Military pharmacies in all other overseas areas will operate under the medication disposal guidance of their host nations. 

Requirements for Military Pharmacy Disposal Sites

Military pharmacies operating as disposal sites must meet strict U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) guidelines for collecting and ultimate disposal of prescription drugs.

Drug Take Back Options

Military pharmacies will offer one or both of the following drug take back options:

  • Mail-in envelopes distributed at military pharmacies
  • Secure receptacles at military pharmacies

The preferred national vendor is Sharps Compliance, Inc. You can get materials for your facility through Defense Logistics Agency national purchasing contracts. 

Frequently Asked Questions

View the following questions and answers about the MHS Drug Take Back Program.


Why is drug take back important?


Prescription pain drugs are the second-most commonly abused category of drugs in the U.S.

  • When used as directed, prescription drugs are safe and effective.
  • When abused, prescription drugs can be dangerous, addictive and deadly.

The availability of unwanted, unused, and expired prescription drugs are a major contributor to prescription drug abuse. According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, more than 70% of prescription pain drug abuse involved drugs obtained from a friend or relative, and nearly one third of suicide attempts among veterans involve prescription medication. Our beneficiaries can reduce these risks by safely disposing their drugs through the MHS Drug Take Back program. 


What kind of drugs can we accept through the MHS Drug Take Back program?

  • Both prescription and over-the-counter drugs
  • Pills, tablets, capsules
  • Ointments
  • Creams
  • Lotions
  • Powders
  • Liquid medicines (no more than 4 oz.)

Are there any drugs we can't accept at our facility through the MHS Drug Take Back program?


You can’t accept any of the following items at your facility. Please direct patients to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Website for details about disposing of these and other hazardous materials.

  • Illegal drugs
  • Aerosol spray cans
  • Alcohol or hydrogen peroxide
  • Needles, syringes or sharps containers
  • More than 4 oz. of liquid
  • Trash
  • Mercury thermometers
  • Batteries
  • Chemicals
  • Home-based care or durable medical equipment supplies

We already participate in other drug take back events. Are we still allowed to participate in these throughout the year?


Yes. In addition to these MHS Drug Take Back activities, you can participate in law enforcement-sponsored drug take back events that occur throughout the year.


Can a pharmacy staff member accept unused, unwanted, or expired drugs from patients to dispose?


No. Per DEA rules, pharmacists and other pharmacy staff cannot accept drugs from a patient to dispose of. They must physically put the drugs in the collection bin or envelope.

You also may be interested in...

Walter Reed Makes it Easy to Dispose of Prescription Drugs Year-Round

Article Around MHS
U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Ramon Paul, service chief of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Ambulatory Procedure Unit, demonstrates how easy it is to safely dispose of unused or expired prescriptions using one of two MedSafe collection bins at WRNMMC.

This year’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day was April 22. However, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center is reminding its beneficiaries that they can dispose of prescription drugs year-round at the hospital.

Drug Take Back Program


Questions and answers about the MHS Drug Take Back Program

Look Familiar?

Look Familiar? Infographic

If you have a stash of unused prescription or over-the-counter drugs, it might be time to clean out your medicine cabinet.

It's Time to Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet?

Infographic with image of young boy playing with pill bottles

Is it time to clean out your medicine cabinet? Your local military pharmacy now offers drug take back options.

Don't Rush to Flush

infographic about not flushing too many things

Military pharmacies now offer drug take back. Don't flush unused meds ... instead dispose of them at your military pharmacy.

Been a while since you emptied your medicine cabinet?

infographic about a drug takeback program

Is it time to clean out your medicine cabinet? Your local military pharmacy now offers drug take back options.

Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet!

Infographic detailing where you can and cannot dispose of military pharmaceuticals

Military pharmacies in the U.S. and U.S. Territories now offer drug take back options. See what you can and can't dispose of at a military pharmacy near you.

Drug Take Back Program

Infographic about a drug takeback program

Drop off unused, unneeded or expired drugs at military pharmacies in the U.S. and U.S. Territories.

DoD Instruction 6025.25: Drug Take Back Program


In accordance with the authority in DoD Directive 5124.02, establishes policy and assigns responsibilities for developing, publishing, and implementing procedural guidance for a Drug Take Back Program throughout the Military Health System, in accordance with Parts 1300-1321 of Title 21, Code of Federal Regulations, also known and referred to in this issuance as the “Controlled Substances Act.”

  • Identification #: DoD Instruction Number 6025.25
  • Date: 4/26/2016
  • Type: Instructions
  • Topics: Drug Take Back Program

A Response to the Epidemic of Prescription Drug Abuse

Fact Sheet

A fact sheet from the Office of National Drug Control Policy

How to Dispose of Medicines Properly

Fact Sheet

This fact sheet from the EPA offers choices to properly dispose of your unused or expired drugs.

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Last Updated: September 02, 2022
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