Hazardous Waste

​The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality oversees the Drug Take-Back Program, which offers Oregon residents a convenient, safe, and secure way to dispose of unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medicines. 

Find a participating drop-off site

Why is safe medicine disposal important?

Leftover or expired medicines can pose a number of serious environmental and health risks. If not disposed, unused medicines can fall into the wrong hands and lead to accidental poisonings, addiction or abuse. Medicines 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 medicines can pass through treatment plants or septic systems to our rivers or groundwater. 

How does it work?

It's never been easier! The Drug Take-Back Program makes it more convenient to safely dispose of unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medicines in two ways. There is no charge for either service. 

  • Take your unwanted household medicines to a drop-off site: You can take your unwanted medicines to a participating drop-off site and dispose of them in the on-site secure repository.  You don't need to show ID or fill out any paperwork to use the drop-off site.
  • Mail-back: You can request and receive a pre-paid, pre-addressed envelope and mail in your unused medicines for disposal.

Program operators may also offer collection of unwanted drugs through events.

Collection services are for household disposal, not pharmaceutical waste from businesses. Per ORS 459A.200, services are available to:

  • Oregon residents;
  • Non-business entities in Oregon; and
  • Ultimate users, as defined by 21 U.S.C. 802(27)

Program services are not intended for law enforcement agencies or entities that generate pharmaceutical waste, such as a hospital, health care clinic, health care provider office, veterinary clinic or pharmacy.

As part of its oversight, DEQ reviewed and approved plans by two program operators to implement statewide drug take-back programs in Oregon. In partnership with the Oregon Board of Pharmacy, DEQ also monitors program operators for compliance. The Program is funded by drug manufacturers and free of charge to Oregon residents. 

Starting in fall 2021, the program operators will offer a single website and toll-free telephone number to provide information on drop-off site locations and how to order mail-back envelopes for unwanted medicines. Until then, you can locate a participating drop-off site and find out how to obtain a pre-paid, pre-addressed envelope by visiting or calling the program operators at:

Note: There may be other unwanted medicine drop-box sites in your area that are not part of the statewide drug take-back programs. Resources to find these sites include the DEA website and possibly your local jurisdiction. Prior to the Program's launch, DEQ also compiled a list of law enforcement agencies that collected unwanted medicines. While some of these law enforcement agencies have joined a drug take-back program, others may still be operating independently. Since such sites are independently operated, consider contacting them in advance to see if the sites are still operational, their hours of operation, and the types of drugs and other healthcare products that they will accept. Twice a year, usually in April and October, the DEA also holds a drug take-back event, known as National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, to collect unwanted medicines.

​DEQ approved plans for two program operators to implement drug take-back programs in Oregon: The Drug Takeback Solutions Foundation and MED-Project USA.

DEQ provides administrative oversight for approved programs. DEQ reviews, approves, and evaluates program plans, and, in partnership with the Oregon Board of Pharmacy, monitors program operations for compliance.

Programs must operate in accordance with the Drug Take-Back Law (Oregon Revised Statutes 459A.200 to 459A.266 and the Drug Take-Back rules in Chapter 340, Division 98).

Contact:

Michael Lee​, 503-229-6832
Program Coordinator

​Manufacturers should familiarize themselves with the Drug Take-Back Law, including ORS 459A.203, which sets manufacturers' requirements for participating in a drug take-back program. Manufacturers should contact the program operators directly with inquiries on how to participate.

Under ORS 459A.203(2), a covered manufacturer is not required to participate in a drug take-back program if it provides sufficient proof to DEQ that it manufactures covered drugs for fewer than 50 patients in Oregon.

Exemptions:

For guidance on how to submit a claim of exemption, please see Section 1 of Guide for Oregon Drug Take-Back Programs.

The following manufacturers have claimed exemption from participating in a drug take-back program:

  • Parsolex GMP Center, Inc. (formerly Purdue GMP Center, Inc.) 
    3000 Kent Avenue, Suite C1-100 
    West Lafayette, IN 47906-1075

Pharmacies, law enforcement agencies and other potential authorized collectors, as defined in ORS 459A.200, have an opportunity to join a statewide program as authorized collectors and offer their communities a safe and secure way to dispose of unwanted drugs.

Authorized collectors will host collection kiosks for program operators. A program operator will service the kiosk for the authorized collectors, transport the pharmaceutical waste and ensure its proper disposal. Drug manufacturers are responsible for the cost of collection and disposal.

Examples of authorized collectors for a drug take-back program:

  • A person who is registered with the Drug Enforcement Administration of the United States Department of Justice and qualifies under federal law to collect and dispose of controlled substances, or qualifies under federal law to have the person's registration modified in such a way that authorizes the person to collect and dispose of controlled substances.

  • A law enforcement agency.

Potential authorized collectors interested in becoming a drop-off site can contact the program operators directly:

  • The Drug Takeback Solutions Foundation  
    Kirk Herweck, Director of Consumer Drug Take-Back Solutions
    Email: take-back@inmar.com
    Phone: 1-800-350-0397, option #5

  • MED-Project USA 
    Dr. Victoria Travis, National Program Director
    MED-Project USA
    3439 NE Sandy Blvd.
    Unit 3620
    Portland, OR 97232
    Email: oregon@med-project.org
    Phone: 1-833-633-7765

In areas where a program operator is unable to establish a drop-off site, the program operator may seek DEQ approval to provide additional services or host collection events.

Local governments should program operators directly if they have questions about what the programs will offer in their jurisdiction, including possible additional services or collection events if drop-off sites are not established.


Why is safe drug disposal important?

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.

Contact

Michael Lee
Program Coordinator
503-229-6832

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