The City of Lake Oswego, working with the Drug Enforcement Agency, offers a free one-day-only drug take back event twice per year - once in the spring, and once in the fall.
At these events, unwanted prescription drugs are collected from the public so that they can be disposed of properly and in accordance with federal and state laws and regulations.
Unwanted medicines are collected from individual households only. Medications cannot be accepted from businesses such as nursing homes, doctor’s offices or any other institution or business.
Acceptable items for collection are:
- Expired or unwanted prescription medicine
- Unknown tablets and capsules
- Veterinary medications
No thermometers, sharps or medical waste or equipment will be collected. (These items can be taken to Metro’s Hazardous Waste Collection for safe disposal. Allied Waste, our local hauler, offers collection and disposal for sharps- 503 636-3011.) Medical Teams International in Tigard may accept unopened over-the-counter medicines and syringes (no outdated products or personal prescriptions). Their number is 503-624-1028.
If people miss these opportunities, there are other options for safely disposing of this material:
- Several local police departments accept medicines during regular business hours (for locations: http://www.deq.state.or.us/lq/sw/hhw/DrugTakeBackSites.pdf).
- In addition, you can take them to the Metro’s Hazardous Waste Facility (2001 Washington St., Oregon City, 503-234-3000). Someone taking their medications to this facility would be charged $5 for up to 35 gallons of hazardous waste. So, this is a good opportunity to take other hazardous materials (such as antifreeze, batteries, pesticides, etc.) in at the same time.
In terms of dry capsules, it is not considered an environmental hazard to put these in the garbage can for disposal. The only thing that would be a hazard is the possibility of someone getting into the garbage and finding the medicine. To avoid this, take them out of their original containers and mix them with an undesirable substance, such as used coffee grounds or kitty litter. The medication will be less appealing to children and pets, and unrecognizable to people who may intentionally go through your trash.
A few things to consider:
- Do not flush prescription drugs or other medicine down the toilet or drain unless the label or accompanying patient information specifically instructs you to do so. This includes common medicines like aspirin and cough syrup. In a recent study of 139 streams in 30 states, drugs turned up in 80% of the samples. Filtration and treatment can only do so much to purify our drinking water.
- Ask your pharmacy if it takes back unused prescriptions.
- Expired or unwanted medications can be emptied into the garbage. (Mix drugs with an undesirable substance, such as cat litter or used coffee grounds. Put in sealed container.)
- Empty plastic medicine containers larger than 6 oz. can be recycled. (Conceal or remove any personal information, including Rx number, on the empty containers by covering it with black permanent marker or duct tape, or by scratching it off.)