Skip Ribbon Commands Skip to main content
News & Resources Safety at Work Safety at Home Safety on the Road Products & Training NSC Congress & Expo Find NSC Near You
      NSC HOME > Safety at Home > Prescription Drug Overdoses > Medicine Disposal Resources      
Medicine Disposal Resources


Resources to Safely Dispose of Leftover Prescription Medication

Many households have prescription drugs that are expired or unused. These drugs, especially opioid painkillers, can be dangerous and need to be disposed of promptly and properly.

Listed below are resources for locating take-back programs, drug collection boxes, and pharmacies that take back drugs.

If you can’t find a take-back program, you can dispose of unwanted medication by following these steps:
  • Flushing medication should be a last resort. Instead of flushing these medications, the safest way to dispose of them is to disguise them and then throw them away with your trash.
  • Mix medications with kitty litter or coffee grounds. Mixing either pills or liquids with an undesirable substance like kitty litter or coffee grounds will make it much less likely that a child or household pet will find and ingest the substance. Add a small amount of water to dissolve them before mixing them with another substance.
  • Place the mixture in a plastic bag and seal it. This extra level of protection is another way to make sure the medication won't fall into the wrong hands.
  • Throw the bag away with your trash. Once the medication is thoroughly disguised and sealed in a bag, simply throw it out with your trash.
  • Remove the labels from the empty medicine bottles. Scrape off the labels so that the print is illegible before you throw the bottles away. This measure is taken to protect your identity.

Take Back Programs 

National Disposal Events and Programs Collection Sites


National Drug Take-Back Day​

The Drug Enforcement Administration conducts drug take-back events each Spring and Fall. 

National Drug Take-Back Initiative

Check back periodically; as new event information and participating site look up are added when events are announced.

​American Medicine Chest Challenge (AMCC)
Searchable national directory of permanent prescription drug collection boxes operated by local, county, and state law enforcement agencies.
​AMCC Rx Drop ​Free mobile app to identify permanent prescription disposal sites.

Available on iPhone and Android cell phones.
​Take Back Network

​Product Stewardship Institute has developed a go-to-guide to conduct drug take-back activities.  The site includes how-to information, the status of state prescription drug collection programs and links to state directory for those states that have permanent and regularly recurring take-back events.


Pharmacy Programs 

​Green Pharmacies

Searchable database of a modest number of green pharmacies that take back drugs.

​Sharps Compliance Inc. ​Searchable national directory of pharmacies that participate in medication disposal programs. It focuses on large chains such as CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreens as well as grocery store pharmacies like Kroger.



  CONTACT US: 1121 Spring Lake Drive Itasca, IL 60143-3201     1-800-621-7615  
Disclaimer & Privacy Policy      About Us      Careers      Sitemap      Contact Us     
Instant SSL Certificate Secure Site

McAfee Secure sites help keep you safe from identity theft, credit card fraud, spyware, spam, viruses and online scams