Don' - 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!

  1. Angela Porta

    Solid Waste Specialist

Disposal Quick Links

Medication Directory Button
Big Red Barrel Directory Button
Sharps Directory Button

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 drugsControlled 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.

View the list of locations in Washtenaw County's Medication Disposal Network

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.

Acceptable Materials

  • Antibiotics
  • Cold and Flu Medications
  • Inhalers
  • Medicated Ointments / Lotions
  • Medication Samples
  • Medications for Pets
  • Non-Controlled Drug Enforcement Agency Drugs
  • Over-the-counter Medications
  • Prescription Medications
  • Steroids
  • Vitamins

Unacceptable Materials

Medication Disposal Instructions

  1. Gather your unwanted medications based on the lists above.
  2. Leave items in their original containers.
  3. Remove or black out any personal information on the label to protect your privacy, but make sure the drug name is still visible.
  4. 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.
  1. Big red barrel locations
  2. Medication Disposal Tips
  3. Other resources

Big Red BarrelBig red Barrel medication drop off box

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. 

Local Locations

View the list of location of Big Red Barrels in Washtenaw County.

Michigan Locations

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.

Poison help  1800 222 1222

Poison Control

Poison Control Website
Phone: 800-222-1222