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 obtained them from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. Washtenaw County has seen an increase in opioid overdose deaths since 2012, from prescription drugs like OxyContin to street drugs like heroin.
In order to protect our families and the environment, we must ensure that medications and personal care products are properly handled, stored and disposed!
- Pharmacy Take-Back Program
- Big Red Barrel Program
- Mail-In Programs
- Locations Around Michigan
- Medication Disposal Tips
The Pharmacy Take-Back Program allows Washtenaw County residents to take back their old, unwanted medications to a pharmacy to be properly disposed - for free! In compliance with the Controlled Substance Act (CSA), enforced by the Drug Enforcement Administration, this program does not accept any controlled / scheduled drugs.
Medication Collection Instructions:
- Gather your unwanted medications. Please see the list below to find out which items are and are not accepted.
- Leave items in their original containers. Pill bottles, blister packs, ointment tubes, and leak-proof liquid containers are all acceptable.
- 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 pharmacy, and deliver the medications to the pharmacy counter.
- 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
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 our area.
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.
Simply purchase the Environmental Return System postage prepaid envelope and fill it with your unused patient medications. Then just drop it in the mail or place unused patient medications in the Environmental Return System postage prepaid drop-off box which is then shipped through UPS. The return shipping cost is prepaid with both options. The TakeAway Environmental Return Systems are transported to Sharps’ treatment facility where they are processed by law enforcement.
Locations Around Michigan
- Lenawee County - Big Red Barrel
- Livingston County - Big Red Barrel
- Oakland County - Operation Medicine Cabinet
AWARxEorg 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.
Michigan Medical and Veterinary Care Facilities
Medication Disposal Tips
If you are unable to drop off your old medications at any of the participating pharmacies or law enforcement agencies, please follow the guidelines below for safe disposal of medications.
- 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.
- Wrap and Trash! Remove or black out any personal information on the label, but ensure the drug name is still visible. Wrap medication containers in duct tape, followed by several layers of plastic bags, to prevent contents spilling out if crushed in the garbage truck. Many people are reluctant to send medications to the landfill for fear they will someday reach the groundwater aquifer. But modern landfills are lined, and the leachate is collected and treated to remove the harmful compounds.