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. Instead, choose one of these options:
Take waste pharmaceuticals to a designated drug take-back collection site or collection event.
- Healthcare 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 Combs Flatt Road, Prineville, OR 97754, or to the law enforcement location
- St. Charles Medical Center-Madras, 470 NE A Street, Madras, Or 97741: not available anymore. 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 Road, La Pine, OR 97739
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.