Don' - Medication Disposal

Protect your family and the environment by ensuring that your medications and personal care products are properly handled, stored, and disposed.

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 includes many locations throughout Washtenaw County where residents can drop off their expired and unwanted medications and medical sharps for free for proper disposal.

Medication Disposal Map Button Opens in new window

This map includes location-specific information such as what they do and do not accept, how to package your items, and where the drop-off point within the location is. 

Many locations are changing procedures or have restricted access due to Covid-19. Locations also vary in what they accept and how they want it packaged for drop-off. To help ensure you are not turned away, please verify that a location is operating and can take your items prior to arrival. 

Pharmacy Take-Back Program Information

The items below are usually accepted at the 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
  • 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 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 to be safely disposed of. 

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 created by the State of Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy 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 plastic bag in trash. 
  4. Scratch off personal information on container or bottle, then recycle or throw 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
  • Lenawee County - Big Red Barrel
  • Livingston County - Big Red Barrel
  • Oakland County - Operation Medicine Cabinet

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.

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.

Disposal Quick Links

Medication Directory Button
Big Red Barrel Directory Button
Sharps Directory Button

Many locations are changing procedures or have restricted access due to Covid-19. Locations also vary in what the accept and how they want it packaged for drop off. To help ensure you are not turned away, please verify that a location is operating and can take your items prior to arrival. 

For the interactive map, use the "Medication Disposal Network Map" button at the top of this page. These buttons above contain the same information in a different format. 

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.

Poison help  1800 222 1222

Poison Control

Poison Control Website
Phone: 800-222-1222