Leftover or expired drugs can pose a number of serious environmental and health risks. If not disposed, unused drugs can lead to accidental poisonings, addiction or abuse. Drugs can also have health and environmental impacts when they end up in a landfill or are flushed down the toilet or drain. Wastewater treatment plants and septic systems are usually not equipped to treat pharmaceuticals and chemical compounds from these drugs can pass through treatment plants or septic systems to our rivers or groundwater.
The Drug Take-Back Law (ORS 459A.200 to 459A.266) requires drug manufacturers to fund and develop a statewide drug take-back program that will provide safe and secure disposal of drugs for Oregon residents and other covered entities by July 1, 2021. Visit
DEQ's Drug Take-Back page to learn more about the program.
Disposal recommendations for household pharmaceuticals
Do not dispose of pharmaceuticals down a drain or toilet or burn them with household waste. This allows them to get into the environment, impacting fish, wildlife, or even you.
Instead, choose one of these options:
Take waste pharmaceuticals to a designated drug take-back collection site.
Law enforcement collection sites
Health care collection sites (list maintained by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration)
DEQ update on DEA site list:
Salem Health, 665 Winter Street Se, Salem, OR 97301: not available anymore
St. Charles Health System, 384 Se Combs Flat Road, Prineville OR 97754: not available anymore, but can dispose of unwanted medication at Clinic Pharmacy,
198 NE Combsflatt Road, Prineville, OR 97754, additionally to the law enforcement location
St. Charles Medical Center-Madras, 470 N.E. A Street, Madras, Or 97741: not available anymore, but consult law enforcement location list above for Madras location
Drug Mart Inc Pharmacy, Suite A, P.O. Box 159, La Pine, OR 97739: full address is 51600 Huntington Rd, La Pine, OR 97739
- National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day: The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency usually holds annual drug take-back events in April and October. The next event is Oct. 24, 2020 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
If no sites or events are available, dispose of waste pharmaceuticals in the trash using these basic guidelines:
- Take waste pharmaceuticals out of their original containers and mix with an undesirable substance such as used cat litter, or coffee grounds.
- Place this mixture in a plastic bag or other sealable container, such as an empty plastic container.
- Place the sealed container with the mixture in the trash as close to garbage pickup time as possible, to prevent theft and misuse.