Don' - Medication Disposal

Protect your family and the environment by making sure medications are properly handled, stored, and disposed of.

Medications have been detected in rivers, waterways, and groundwater. Wastewater treatment facilities are not equipped to filter out these chemicals, so they may show 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. 

Medication Disposal Network

Medication take-back is the safest option for medication disposal.

Washtenaw County’s Medication Disposal Network show where to dispose of expired and unwanted medications and medical sharps- for free!

Click the button below to view the Medication Disposal Network Map.

This map includes information on what products are (and are not) accepted, how to package your items, and where the drop-off point within the location is. 

To help ensure you are not turned away, please verify that a location is operating and can take your items prior to arrival. 

Medication Disposal Map Button Opens in new window

Pharmacy Take-Back Program Information

The items below are usually accepted at participating pharmacies. 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
  • Medicated Ointments / Lotions
  • Medication Samples
  • Medications for Pets
  • Non-Controlled Drug Enforcement Agency Drugs
  • Over-the-counter Medications
  • Prescription Medications
  • Steroids
  • Vitamins

Unacceptable Materials

Big Red Barrel Programbigredbarrelpicture

The "Big Red Barrel" program invites people to safely dispose of prescription or over-the-counter pills.  Controlled substances like OxyContin, Vicodin, and Percocet are disposed of for FREE. This program is a partnership with local law enforcement agencies. 

Pills ONLY accepted at Big Red Barrel locations – NO LIQUIDS, NO SYRINGES.

Medication Disposal Tips:

It is best to use the medication take-back services above. If you are unable to, follow the guidelines below for the next safest home disposal method.

Trash Disposal Instructions

  1. Mix drugs (do not crush) with dirt, cat litter, or used coffee grounds. Add a small amount of water to dissolve any solid medications.
  2. Seal in a plastic bag.
  3. Place the plastic bag in the trash. 
  4. Scratch off personal information on the container or bottle, then recycle or throw it away.

EGLE Classroom - Drug Disposal Minute 

Watch EGLE's approved trash disposal method in one minute below:

Additional Resources

Other Medication Take-Back Programs

  • 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.
  • Statewide - view EGLE's Household Drug Take Back Map

Chemotherapy Medication

Contact ERG Environmental Services in Livonia at (734) 437-9650 for more information about dropping off chemotherapy medication at their facility. 

Other Medical Waste Disposal

Learn about disposing of other types of medical waste from EGLE.

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Poison Control

Poison Control Website
Phone: 800-222-1222