HOW & WHERE TO DISPOSE OF UNWANTED PRESCRIPTION PAINKILLERS AND OTHER DRUGS
Drug Take Back Locations
To find a Drug Take Back location near you, use this interactive map.
How to Dispose of Unwanted Prescription Painkillers and Other Medications
Whenever possible, take your unused prescription drugs to a collection program or event. Many (but not all) pharmacies and police and sheriff departments have secure collection receptacles. You may safely dispose of controlled and uncontrolled substances, over-the-counter medications, ointments, patches, creams, non-aerosol sprays, vials, and pet medications through a collection program or event.
Drug Take Back Events
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) sponsors two Take Back Days each year. These national events are an opportunity for community members to dispose of unused, unneeded, or expired prescription drugs at community events organized with local law enforcement. On Take Back Day in April 2017, law enforcement agencies across Minnesota collected nearly 9.3 tons of unneeded medications. The 14th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day will be held October 28, 2017. If you are a representative of a law enforcement agency or organization interested in participating in Take Back Day in your community, or you are looking for drug take back event locations, contact the DEA for more information. For a list of organizations that have announced that they are hosting a Take Back event, see Take Back Events for additional information.
Avoid Flushing Down the Toilet or Drain!
Avoid flushing or pouring unused or expired prescription medications down the drain. These potentially dangerous pharmaceutical substances can contribute to contamination of our water supply if not disposed of properly.
Local Police Departments
If your prescriptions contain narcotics or other controlled substances, contact your local police department to find out whether it will accept them. Some police departments will accept non-controlled substances too, but you should be sure exactly what yours will accept before dropping off items. You may also check with your local pharmacy to determine whether it will accept your unused medications.
The DEA allows mail-back programs for unused medications. Check with your doctor, pharmacy, or local police station about whether they have a mail-back program or mail-back packages available. Legitimate packages should include pre-paid postage, unique ID numbers, and be pre-addressed to a location authorized by the DEA. Avoid leaving packages in unsecured mailboxes.
Household medical sharps, chemotherapy drugs, and mercury-containing devices should be managed separately: