On Saturday, April 29 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., Montgomery County law enforcement agencies and the County’s Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse Prevention Office will be participating in the Washington Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA’s) National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. This is a safe, free, and anonymous opportunity to dispose of unused, unwanted, or expired prescription drugs and is part of a national effort to prevent the increasing problems of prescription drug abuse and theft that continues to occur nationwide.
Fifteen drop-off locations will be open to the general public throughout Montgomery County. These locations will accept prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications only. Liquids, illicit drugs, needles, sharps and syringes cannot be accepted as part of this take-back program. Officers will staff collection boxes in the parking lots of the following facilities or in the facility lobbies:
- Chevy Chase Village Police Station
5906 Connecticut Avenue
- MCP 2nd District Police at Village of Friendship Heights Community Center
4433 S. Park Avenue
- MCP 1st District Station/ Public Safety Headquarters
100 Edison Park Drive
- MCP 6th District Station
45 West Watkins Mill Road
- Gaithersburg Police Station
14 Fulks Corner Avenue
- Asbury Methodist Village – Lobby of Hefner Bldg.
417 Russell Avenue
- MCP 5th District Station
20000 Aircraft Drive
- Churchill Senior Living
21000 Father Hurley Blvd.
- Rockville City Police/Montgomery County Sheriff’s
2 W. Montgomery Ave. – Lobby of Rockville City Police Station
- Maryland State Police Rockville Barrack
7915 Montrose Road
- Bender Jewish Community Center (JCC) of Greater Washington
6125 Montrose Road
- MCP 3rd District Station
1002 Milestone Drive
- Schweinhaut Senior Center
1000 Forest Glen Road
- Takoma Park Police at Takoma Park City Building Lobby
7500 Maple Avenue
- MCP 4th District Station
2300 Randolph Road
Residents are encouraged to bring in medications containing controlled substances but will accept any medications brought for disposal. All sites will take pills and medication patches of all kinds. If possible, prescription labels should be removed or personal information should be blacked out; however, pill bottles will still be accepted if the labels are attached. No questions will be asked. This is an opportunity to safely empty out a medicine cabinet of drugs that are no longer needed.
Disposing of prescription drugs through a drug take-back day is the safest option. If it is safe to dispose of a drug by flushing it down a toilet, the drug label or prescription information will indicate that option is an appropriate means of disposal. Otherwise unused drugs should not be poured down a sink or flushed for disposal.
Drugs should not be thrown in the trash unless specific safety precautions for safe disposal are followed. The County’s Division of Solid Waste Services offers these suggestions:
- Place unwanted or expired medication into a plastic bag (with a seal) or other empty container with a lid to prevent liquid medications from leaking out.
- Mix with kitty litter, coffee grounds or sawdust. (Liquid medications can be solidified using kitty litter or sawdust.)
- Seal the bag and/or container.
- Crush pills or tablets.
- Put the container and/or bag containing the medication into your regular household trash.
- Remove the label with the patient’s name from the original medicine vial or bottle.
- Place the empty plastic vial or bottle into your blue County recycling bin. Empty aerosol inhalers can also be recycled in recycling bins.
Unused and/or expired medicines that remain in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. According to the DEA, rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.
All the returned medications on Drug Take-Back day will be incinerated according to federal and state environmental guidelines.