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Managing Unwanted Medications

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:

Option 1

Take waste pharmaceuticals to a designated drug take-back collection site or collection event.

Note: The sites listed below are independently operated, so please check in advance to confirm if sites are still operational, hours of operation, and the types of drugs and other healthcare products accepted.

Healthcare collection sites 
List maintained by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration

  • Salem Health
    665 Winter Street SE, Salem, OR 97301: no longer available
  • St. Charles Health System
    384 SE Combs Flat Road, Prineville OR 97754: no longer available, but you 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 

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day: The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency usually holds annual drug take-back events in April and October.

Option 2

If no sites or events are available, dispose of waste pharmaceuticals in the trash using these basic guidelines:

  1. Take waste pharmaceuticals out of their original containers and mix with an undesirable substance such as used cat litter, or coffee grounds.

  2. Place this mixture in a plastic bag or other sealable container, such as an empty plastic container.

  3. Place the sealed container with the mixture in the trash as close to garbage pickup time as possible, to prevent theft and misuse.


Contact

If the suggested locations are not available, please contact DEQ so we can update our database:

Michael Lee, Program Coordinator
503-229-6832


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