U.S. flag An official website of the United States government
  1. Home
  2. Drugs
  3. Resources for You | Drugs
  4. Drug Information for Consumers
  5. Buying & Using Medicine Safely
  6. Ensuring Safe Use of Medicine
  7. Safe Disposal of Medicines
  8. Disposal of Unused Medicines: What You Should Know
  9. Drug Disposal: Drug Take Back Locations
  1. Disposal of Unused Medicines: What You Should Know

Drug Disposal: Drug Take Back Locations

The best way to safely dispose of most types of old, expired, or unused medicines

Medicine take back options are the best way to safely dispose of most types of unneeded or expired prescription and over the counter medicines.

Note that there are a few, select medicines with specific instructions to immediately flush down the toilet only if a drug take back option is not readily available.

There are generally two kinds of take back options:

Before disposing of prescription medicines using a drug take back option, be sure to remove all personal information on the label of pill bottles or medicine packaging.

Do note that all medicines dropped off at these locations will be destroyed and discarded. If you are interested in donating your medication, use this online resource to determine whether pharmaceutical donation and reuse programs exist in your state.

Visit the DEA Diversion Control Division and Get Smart about Drugs websites for more information about drug disposal.

Permanent Collection Locations and Sites

Drug drop off box with term "Safe Mediation Disposal" printed on it

Some facilities and business are registered with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to collect old, unused, unneeded, or expired medicines. These authorized drug collection locations safely and securely gather and dispose of pharmaceuticals containing controlled substances, as well as other medicines.

In your community, such authorized collection locations may be in retail pharmacies, hospital or clinic pharmacies, and law enforcement agencies/ facilities. Some authorized collectors may also offer mail back programs or collection receptacles (drop off boxes) to assist you in safely disposing of your unused medicines.

Lastly, you can go to Google Maps and type in "drug disposal near me" or "medication disposal near me" to find your nearest drug disposal site.

Find an authorized drug collection site near you or call the DEA Diversion Control Division Registration Call Center at 1-800-882-9539 for more information.

Periodic Events

DEA National Prescription Drug Take Back Day Logo

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) periodically hosts National Prescription Drug Take Back events. During these Drug Take Back Days, temporary drug collection sites are set up in communities nationwide for safe disposal of prescription drugs.

Local law enforcement agencies may also sponsor medicine take back events in your community. You can also contact your local waste management authorities to learn about events in your area.

Back to Top