Prescription Drug Use: TAKE-BACK Initiative

Photo by Brittany J. Rosario

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the United States is in the midst of an opioid overdose epidemic.  Opioids, including prescription opioid pain relievers and heroin, killed over 28,000 people in 2014, which is more than any year on record.

The Higher Education TAKE-BACK Initiative is a branch program that is a part of the Think About It campaign, and is designed to reduce prescription drug abuse in Georgia. One of the leaders in the organization, Lori Murphy, says, “The MAG foundation is the 501c of the Medical Association of Georgia, and we run the nonprofit side of MAG in that we offer programs like Think About It to educate physicians and the public about prescription drug abuse.”

Kennesaw State University has partnered with the Medical Association of Georgia Foundation to limit the spread of prescription drug use by placing drop boxes on the campuses. The newest box is on the Marietta campus and is located in the Police Station lobby on the first floor of Norton Hall. The main drop box on the Kennesaw campus is located in the Police Station lobby on 351 Paulding Avenue, near the Social Science building and the West Deck.

The head of this program is Lori Murphy. She thinks partnering with the university “helps to reach a different audience in terms of awareness,  and obviously prevention with a younger adult population just by creating that visual that there is a drop box here so there must be a reason behind it. Students are able to remove unused drugs from their rooms or dorms.”

These two drop boxes are not only open to students but to the surrounding community as well. Everyone is encouraged to bring in any prescription medications that they no longer require. Any and all prescriptions are welcome, including creams, pills, and liquids. There is a 100% discretion policy, but it is recommended that all donations have the labels removed to ensure privacy. The contents of the boxes are under surveillance by the university police and, once collected, they are incinerated at the discretion of the police.

There are other universities in the metro Atlanta area that are a part of the TAKE-BACK Initiative, including Georgia State, Morehouse, and The University of West Georgia.

A pamphlet distributed by the Medical Association of Georgia list the steps to reduce prescription drug use:

  1. Take medicines only as prescribed
  2. Do not share medicines
  3. Store your medicines safely
  4. Properly dispose of unused medicine

If there are any questions regarding the prescription drug drop boxes, Lori Cassity Murphy can be contact through the Medical Association of Georgia Foundation at 678-303-9282 or For any additional information, go to

MAG Press release