6 Reasons to Safely Dispose of Prescription Medications
- Unused or expired prescription medications are a public safety issue, leading to accidental poisoning, overdose, and abuse.
- The majority of teenagers abusing prescription drugs get them from family and friends – and the home medicine cabinet.
- Pharmaceutical drugs can be just as dangerous as street drugs when taken without a prescription or a doctor’s supervision.
- The non-medical use of prescription drugs ranks second only to marijuana as the most common form of drug abuse in America.
- Unused prescription drugs thrown in the trash can be retrieved and abused or illegally sold.
- Unused drugs that are flushed contaminate the water supply. Proper disposal of unused drugs saves lives and protects the environment.
Permanent Drug Take-Back Boxes
Arlington County has taken a proactive measure in the fight against prescription drug abuse by installing four permanent drug-take back boxes. The public can now safely and securely dispose of unused, unwanted or expired prescription medications 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 day a year. This disposal service is free and anonymous with no questions asked. The permanent drug take-back boxes are located at:
- Arlington County Fire Station #2 – 4805 Wilson Boulevard
- Arlington County Fire Station #5 – 1750 S. Hayes Street
- Arlington County Fire Station #9 – 1900 S. Walter Reed Drive
- Arlington County Police Department – 2000 block of 14th Street N.
Items accepted at the drug take-back boxes are prescriptions, vitamins, prescription ointments, pet medications, prescription patches and over-the-counter medications. Items not accepted are needles, inhalers, aerosol cans, thermometers, lotions or liquids and hydrogen peroxide.
As of December 2018, a total of 1,008.2 lbs have been collected from the take-back boxes.
Other Safe Disposal Methods
Drug Deactivation bags – Simply place the unused medication in the bag and add water. Ask your local pharmacist or treatment provider for these. Available for purchase online: https://deterrasystem.com/
Disposal in the household trash – If no take-back programs or DEA-registered collectors are available in your area, and there are no specific disposal instructions in the product package insert, such as flushing described below, you can also follow these simple steps to dispose of most medicines in the household trash: