On Saturday, April 28 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., community members can drop off unused, unwanted, or expired prescription drugs, as Montgomery County once again participates in the Washington Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA’s) National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. Understanding the prevalence of opioid overdoses and abuse, this event is a particularly important means for the public to safely dispose of unused and unwanted opioid prescriptions and prevent their life-threatening abuse.
County law enforcement agencies and the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse Prevention Office are co-sponsoring the effort. 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.
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 facility lobbies:
MCP 2nd District Police Station – 4823 Rugby Avenue
Walt Whitman High School – 7100 Whittier Blvd.
Village of Friendship Heights Community Center – 4433 S. Park Avenue
Chevy Chase Village Police Station – 5906 Connecticut Avenue
MCP 6th District Station – 45A West Watkins Mill Rd.
Gaithersburg Police Station – 14 Fulks Corner Avenue
Asbury Methodist Village – Apartment Center Lobby – 301 Odendhal Ave, Bldg. 405
Senior Living at Kentlands Manor – 217 Booth St., Kentlands
MCP 5th District Station – 20000 Aircraft Drive
Rockville City Police/Montgomery County Sheriffs – Rockville City Police Station 2 W. Montgomery Avenue (Lobby of Rockville City Police building)
Maryland State Police Rockville Barrack – 7915 Montrose Road
Bender Jewish Community Center (JCC) of Greater Washington – 6125 Montrose Road
MCP 3rd District Station – 1001 Milestone Drive
Fire Station 1 – 8110 Georgia Avenue
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 due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.
The returned medications on Drug Take-Back day will be incinerated according to federal and state environmental guidelines.