Safely disposing of unwanted medicines is an important part of being safe at home. Protect your family and the environment from a common cause of accidents by safely getting rid of meds you no longer need.
Why safe medicine disposal matters
Unwanted medicines left in the home endanger our children, seniors, and pets. About half of the 37,000 phone calls yearly to the Washington Poison Center concern young children who have been poisoned by medicines found at home.
Prescription drug abuse is the fastest-growing drug problem in the country. Most abusers of medicines get the drugs from a friend or relative, often without their knowledge. Eliminating excess medication from the home can reduce the potential for unintentional injury or misuse.
Flushing drugs or discarding in the garbage are not safe methods of disposal. Unsafe disposal dumps them into our water and surrounding environment.
Meds you can take back
Items Accepted at Take Back Your Meds: Over-the-counter medicines, Vitamins, Pet Medicines, Medicated ointments and lotions, Inhalers, and Liquid medicines in glass or leak-proof containers (up to 12 oz.). Note: Only law enforcement agencies and designated pharmacies can accept controlled substances (such as OxyContin and other opioid pain relievers).
NOT Accepted at Take Back Your Meds: Needles/Lancets/Syringes, Thermometers, Empty containers, Bloody or infectious waste, Personal care products (non-medicated shampoo, etc.), and Hydrogen Peroxide. For items that aren’t accepted by the take-back program, find out where to dispose of them at What Can You Take Back?
DEA National Prescription Drug Take Back Day
DEA holds National Prescription Drug Take Back Days every April and October. This event aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications.
Many locations offer drug take back every day of the year. So, anytime you have extra medicines you no longer need is a good time to properly dispose them. During National Prescription Drug Take Back Month, additional drug collection location will operate at temporary locations.
Find locations in the list below about drug take back locations any time of year throughout Washington State.
Washington State Take Back Your Meds Locations
Washington Poison Center (WAPC) currently manages the statewide Take Back Your Meds program to help Washington state residents locate safe locations to dispose of their unused, unwanted, and/or expired medications.
Some of the common locations that offer medicine return, include many pharmacies (e.g. Bartells, CVS, QFC), local law enforcement offices (police, sheriff, tribal), and healthcare centers or clinics. Find a participating location nearest you below.
Drug take back locations
- Washington State: Take Back Your Meds
- Med-Project: Unwanted medicine drop-off locations – MED-Project | Washington
- Walgreen Medication Disposal: Store Locator | Walgreens
Calendar of health & safety events
Listed below are health & safety events on our calendar in the next 60 days.