- Use a convenient drop box:
Retail pharmacies including Walgreens (E Superior St location), CVS Pharmacy (E Superior Street), St. Luke’s (Northland and Lakeview) Pharmacies & Essentia Health Pharmacies have free drop boxes for residents.
Take it to THE BOX Medication Disposal Drop Box is located in the lobby of the following facilities:
Duluth Police Department/St. Louis County Sheriff Public Safety Building
West Duluth Police Substation
Hermantown Police Department
Proctor Police Department
Carlton Co. Sheriff, Cloquet Police Department, Moose Lake Police Department
2. WLSSD holds periodic medication disposal events at the Household Hazardous Waste Facility. These one day events are specially staffed and medications can only be accepted on special dates; call 218-722-0761 for dates or see the Medicine page for more details.
The US DEA sponsors annual collection events in many communities. See “Find a DEA Collection Site” for more information.
3. It is legal (though not preferred) to dispose of medication carefully in the garbage. Do not flush medications.
Disposing of Medications at Home:
- Keep the medication in its original container
The labels may contain safety information and the caps are typically childproof. Leaving the content information clearly visible, scratch the patient’s name out or cover it with permanent maker.
- Modify the medications to discourage consumption
– For solid medications (pills or capsules): add a small amount of water to at least partially dissolve them.
– For liquid medications: add enough table salt, charcoal, or nontoxic powdered spice, such as turmeric or mustard to make a pungent, unsightly mixture that discourages anyone from eating it.
– For blister packs: wrap the blister packages containing pills in multiple layers of duct or other opaque tape.
- Seal and conceal
Tape the medication container lid shut with packaging or duct tape, place it inside a non-transparent bag or container such as an empty yogurt or margarine tub to ensure that the contents cannot be seen. Do not conceal medicines in food products because they could be inadvertently consumed by wildlife scavengers.
- Discard the container in your garbage can; do not place in the recycling bin.
If you are unsure of how to dispose of a medication, contact WLSSD.
** Unused ampoules, vials, and IV bags should not be opened (other than to scratch out the patient’s name). Wrap the container with tape to minimize breakage, and then place in an opaque container (such as an empty yogurt or margarine tub). Wrap the outside of the container or bag with additional duct or shipping tape to prevent leakage and further obscure the contents. Dispose of the container in the trash.
Chemotherapy drugs may require special handling. Work with your healthcare provider on proper disposal options for this type of medication.