Drug Take-Back Programs
Drug take-back programs are a great way to safely dispose of unwanted or expired medicines. Properly removing unused medicines from the home helps protect the environment and our communities by keeping them out of our water supply and reducing accidental poisoning and prescription drug abuse.
More than 40 Oregon communities have established permanent, free collection boxes that are open year-round for safe and anonymous disposal of unused drugs, and many others host periodic take-back events. In addition, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) sponsors National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day twice a year at locations throughout the country. For more information about these programs and events, see the following:
- Permanent collection boxes in Oregon (PDF): Check back as this list grows every month. The form of drugs accepted varies; check using the phone numbers listed for each location. In general, all locations will accept drugs in pill/capsule form, but are not likely to accept "sharps" (e.g., hypodermic needles) or mercury-containing thermometers. Acceptance of medical creams varies. These collection boxes are intended for household disposal (not from businesses).
- DEA National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day: Events are held twice a year, in the spring and fall.
- The next collection event will be held Saturday, April 27, 2013, from 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM. Participating locations in Oregon can be found on the DEA website. (Check back regularly - sites are added as the event approaches.)
- At the last national take-back event (September 29, 2012), 244 tons of unwanted and unused drugs were collected from the public across the country. In Oregon, 40 participating collection sites netted 5,468 pounds (2.7 tons) during that 4-hour period. Nationwide, the five National Take-Back Days held to date have removed more than 2 million pounds (1,018 tons) of medication from circulation.
- Contact your local police or Sheriff's Department to ask about permanent or seasonal take-back opportunities in your area. Communities such as Gresham, The Dalles and Lake Oswego have held independent take-back events in the past.
Other Safe Disposal Options
If a drug take-back opportunity is not available in your area, the following U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) resources provide some disposal options and special disposal instructions to consider when throwing out expired, unwanted, or unused medicines: