Secure Medicine Disposal
Unused, unwanted and expired medicines in your home pose a risk to you, your family and your community. Accidental poisonings and overdoses are the leading cause of injury death in Snohomish County. Needles and other sharps used for medical care also need safe and proper disposal.
Improper disposal of medicine – such as putting medicines in the garbage or flushing pills down the toilet – puts other people and our environment at risk.
To learn more about proposed pharmaceutical stewardship policies being evaluated by the Board of Health, please visit our Pharmaceutical Stewardship page.
Medicine Drop off program
The Snohomish County Partnership for Secure Medicine Disposal coordinates the Drug Take-Back Program in Snohomish County. Partnership members include the Snohomish Health District, Snohomish County, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, the Snohomish Regional Drug and Gang Task Force, the Washington State Patrol, and all local law enforcement agencies.
Drug Take-Back locations
All police departments in the county take back all unwanted over-the-counter and prescription drugs, including controlled substances.
For a complete list of locations, hours and addresses:
What medicines can you drop off and how?
Pharmacy and law enforcement locations accept most prescription drugs. All sites will accept unwanted vitamins, pet medications, over-the-counter medications, inhalers, and unopened EpiPens. Pharmacies cannot accept certain drugs that have the potential to be abused illegally such as Vicodin, OxyContin, Ritalin, Xanax and Valium.
Leave medicines in their original containers and, if you wish, mark out any personal information.
If you need to dispose of a controlled substance such as a prescription narcotic, take it to a participating law enforcement location.
The Drug Take-Back program does not accept thermometers, used needles (PDF) or other medical waste.See a full list of what is accepted and what can't be brought to a Drug Take-Back location.
Disposing of used needles or sharps
Any type of sharp medical instrument that comes into contact with blood or other body fluids is considered a sharp and the potential to spread infection. This includes any hypodermic needle, syringes with the needles attached, lancets and scalpel blades.
State and local laws prohibit placing loose sharps in your trash. If you use syringes to treat diabetes, allergies or other medical conditions, the loose syringes you throw in your trash can hurt people or be used illegally.
Many pharmacies (PDF) sell sharps containers and accept properly contained used sharps, usually for a fee.