Prescription Medication Disposal

Procedures for proper disposal of excess medications address three primary concerns: ensuring that medicines are only used by those to whom they were prescribed; keeping them away from children and pets; and preventing the chemicals in medicines from getting into water ways.  Several federal agencies have some involvement with this issue including the FDA, DEA and EPA.  The information below has been compiled from information obtained from the FDA and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.

Authorized Collectors 

Due to drug law enforcement issues, prescription medicines cannot be accepted at just any site.  However, the Drug Enforcement Agency has authorized some pharmacies, hospitals, clinics and law enforcement agencies to collect unused medicines.  On the Peninsula there are two authorized collectors who destroy all medicines collected.

Mary Immaculate Outpatient Pharmacy
12720 McManus Blvd, Suite 200, Newport News, VA 23602
Monday – Friday: 8:30 AM – 5 PM
Call 757-947-3740 for more information.

US Army – McDonald Health Center
Bldg. 576, Jefferson Ave, Fort Eustis, VA 23604
Monday – Friday: 8 AM – 6 PM
Saturday:  8 AM – 12 PM  and  1 PM– 5 PM

Note:  The Fort Eustis Main Pharmacy has a drop box for unused medications that is available during their normal operation hours.  However, only personnel who are authorized to use this military pharmacy can dispose of medicines here.

Medications cannot be collected under the Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) program and therefore are not accepted at the Recovery Operations Center.

Home Disposal 

If you cannot take advantage of one of the authorized collection sites, please follow these instructions

  1. Do not dispose of medications in the sink or toilet!
  2. Remove the medications from the bottle and put them in a container with a tight lid or into a sealable baggie.  Try not to handle the medications.  If the medication is solid, crush it or add a little water to dissolve it.
  3. Mix in something to make medications less appealing to children and pets, and unrecognizable to people who may intentionally go through the trash seeking drugs.  As an added safety precaution, place the baggie in another sealable container such as an empty margarine tub.
  4. Throw the sealed container into the trash.
  5. Before discarding the medicine bottle, remove or cover identifying info, including the prescription number
Do not give your medicine to other people. Doctors prescribe medicines based on specific symptoms and medical history.  Something that works for one person could be dangerous for someone else.