Don'tFlushDrugs.com - Medication Disposal
Medications and personal care products are being detected in rivers, waterways, and groundwater. Wastewater treatment facilities are not equipped to filter out these chemicals, so they are showing up in drinking water.
In addition, many children are accidentally poisoned each year by items found in the home. Studies also show that individuals who abuse prescription drugs often get the medications from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.
In order to protect our families and the environment, we must ensure that medications and personal care products are properly handled, stored and disposed!
Disposal Quick Links
Medication Disposal Directory: Pharmacies within Washtenaw County that are part of the Medication Disposal Network and accept medication for safe disposal.
Big Red Barrel Directory: Law enforcement stations that have red barrels in a public space for collecting medication and controlled substances. Pills only; no liquids or syringes.
Sharps Disposal Directory: Locations that accept sharps, syringes, and needles for safe disposal. View more information on sharps disposal.
Medication Disposal Network
Medication take-back is the safest option for medication disposal.
Washtenaw County's Medication Disposal Network is an informational resource for Washtenaw County residents on where to take their expired and unwanted medications and medical sharps for free and proper disposal.
In compliance with the Controlled Substance Act (CSA), enforced by the Drug Enforcement Administration, some participating pharmacies may not accept any controlled/ scheduled drugs. Controlled or scheduled drugs like OxyContin, Vicodin, and Percocet can be taken to a Big Red Barrel location for safe disposal - see the below tab labeled "Big Red Barrel" for more information and instructions.
The items below are usually accepted at participating pharmacies. Some pharmacies might have additional requirements. If you have items that are not prescription or over-the-counter pills, check ahead to confirm prior to arrival.
- Cold and Flu Medications
- Medicated Ointments / Lotions
- Medication Samples
- Medications for Pets
- Non-Controlled Drug Enforcement Agency Drugs
- Over-the-counter Medications
- Prescription Medications
- Aerosol Cans
- Bloody or Infectious Waste
- Business Waste
- Empty Containers
- Hair Care Products
- Hydrogen Peroxide, Rubbing Alcohol, etc.
- Insect Repellents
- IV Bags
- Narcotics / Drug Enforcement Agency Scheduled / Controlled Drugs
- Personal Care Products
- Radioactive Items
- Sunscreen Products
- Tobacco Products
- Sharps / Needles - unless pharmacy approves
Medication Disposal Instructions
- Gather your unwanted medications based on the lists above.
- Leave items in their original containers.
- Remove or black out any personal information on the label to protect your privacy, but make sure the drug name is still visible.
- Take medications to a participating location, and deliver the medications to the pharmacy counter. Be aware that some of the pharmacies on this list have additional requirements that must be met to use their program, and not all accept the same items. If you are unsure, call the pharmacy to confirm.
Big Red Barrel
The "Big Red Barrel" program is a partnership with local law enforcement agencies where people can dispose of prescription or over-the-counter pills, including controlled substances like OxyContin, Vicodin, and Percocet - for free!
Pills only. No liquids, no syringes.
View the list of location of Big Red Barrels in Washtenaw County.
State Police Take-Back Program
All 29 Michigan State Police posts across the state now serve as collection points for prescription drugs - including scheduled drugs. Medications can be surrendered Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m., excluding holidays. No appointment is needed. Liquids, inhalers, patches or syringes are not accepted. Visit the Michigan State Police Post web page for addresses and locations.
Medication Disposal Tips
It is best to use the medication take-back services above. If you are unable to, follow the guidelines below created by the State of Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy for the next safest home disposal method.
Trash Disposal Instructions
- Mix drugs (do not crush) with dirt, cat litter or used coffee grounds. Add a small amount of water to dissolve any solid medications.
- Seal in a plastic bag.
- Place plastic bag in trash.
- Scratch off personal information on container or bottle, then recycle or throw away.
Clear out old medications! "Medicine Chest Confusion" can result when leftover or expired medicines are kept, sometimes leading to dangerous mix-ups. Medication can also get into the wrong hands, poisoning young children or leading to addiction.
Don’t put medications down the toilet or sink! Whether you are on a septic system or municipal sewer, traces of flushed chemicals can reach the environment.
Locations Around Michigan
- Lenawee County - Big Red Barrel
- Livingston County - Big Red Barrel
- Oakland County - Operation Medicine Cabinet
AWARxE is an information source providing authoritative resources about medication safety, prescription drug abuse, medication disposal, and safely buying medications on the Internet.
Michigan Pharmacists Association
Michigan Pharmacists Association (MPA) hosts a Medication Disposal Event each year in September on the south Capitol lawn in Lansing. Watch this site for additional details in the spring or early summer and check the website for more medication disposal information.
Walgreens Medication Disposal Kiosks
Visit participating Walgreens pharmacies to dispose of unwanted medications.