Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

Medication Pharmaceutical Waste

Do not flush unused, unwanted, and expired medications down the toilet or put them in drains!

Although flushing medication was a common practice used in the past, new studies show that prescription and over-the-counter drugs are not completely removed when passing through waste water treatment plants.  Harm to marine and plant life can be caused by improper disposal. 

Drug abuse isn't just about street drugs, over-the counter medication are the most commonly abused drugs in the U.S. They can be very addictive and dangerous!  Keeping expired or unused medication can lead to accidental drug overdose by children, drug abuse, theft and illegal distribution.  Keep your family safe.

Why is Proper Medication Disposal Important?

Leftover and expired prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines can be found in every household in the county. Last year unintentional poisonings killed more Dane County residents than automobile crashes. Misuse or abuse of prescription, over-the-counter or illicit drugs are the major cause. Pain medication when misused, can be especially fatal.

Disposal Locations

    It is illegal for HHW collection facilities and events to collect controlled substances.  These are drugs that have a potential for addiction and/or abuse such as narcotics and tranquilizers.

    Common controlled substances include:

    • Narcotic pain medications such as Vicodin, Oxycontin, and Codeine.
    • Sleeping pills such as Valium, Lunesta, and Ambien.
    • ADD/ADHS drugs such as Concerta, and Adderall.
    • Antidepressants such as Zoloft.
    • Cough syrups with Codeine

    Click here for disposal information of controlled substances

    Chemotherapy pharmaceuticals are prohibited at the County’s HHW collection facilities and events.  Chemotherapy pharmaceuticals should be returned to the clinic that dispensed them.

    You may contract with a hazardous waste transporter to properly dispose of this waste. To find a Hazardous Waste Transporter, please visit:
    Visit the business hazardous waste page for additional information.

    Household Hazardous Waste Safe Sharps & Medication Disposal

    Sharps and Medication Disposal Flyer - English
    Sharps and Medication Disposal Flyer - Spanish

    FREE Mail-Back Containers and Authorized Collection Sites - California Pharmaceutical and Sharps Waste Stewardship Program

    California has industry-run statewide stewardship programs that provide safe and convenient disposal options for pharmaceutical and home-generated sharps waste at no cost to the consumer. Visit for information.  

    California State - Sharps Disposal Program 

    California Sharps Mail Back

    Safe Medicine Drop

    California Drug Take-Back Program

    For a list of Med Bin Drop-Off Locations, visit

    Drug Enforcement Agency

    Click HERE for information about disposal of controlled substances.
    Click HERE for the DEA's Year-Round Drug Disposal Site search tool.


    Check with your local pharmacy to see if they accept pharmaceutical waste.  Click on the pharmacies listed below for known pharmaceutical programs:

    Riverside County Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facilities/Events

    Riverside County residents can dispose of their medication for FREE at any of the County's Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Collection facilities and events. Controlled substances are NOT accepted.

    Riverside County Landfills

    Department landfills accept household pharmaceutical waste as routine refuse from residents. Communities and/or non-profit organizations collecting medication from residents are considered a collector of medication; therefore, the medication must be managed as business/commercial pharmaceutical waste.  Refer to the Businesses tab on this page for proper disposal. Locations & hours Fee schedule:  Routine disposal rates apply

    Riverside County Sheriff Station

    Residents can access the drop-off box in the lobby of the Jurupa Sheriff Station, 7477 Mission Boulevard, Jurupa Valley, CA during normal lobby hours.  Call 951-955-2600 for information on lobby hours.  Contact 909-982-8641 for program information.  Controlled substances are NOT accepted.

    Commercial Pharmaceutical Waste includes pharmaceutical waste from facilities such as hospitals, pharmacies, convalescent homes, and other institutions. Some pharmaceutical waste is regulated as hazardous waste. It is the responsibility of the generator to properly classify their waste as either hazardous waste or non-regulated solid waste.

    Riverside County Landfills

    Riverside County landfills accept commercially generated pharmaceutical waste that is non hazardous and is not a controlled substance. Department landfills are not permitted to accept pharmaceutical wastes from businesses, institutions and other care facilities if the pharmaceutical waste is regulated as a hazardous waste as determined by Federal or State law. In addition, Department landfills are prohibited from accepting pharmaceutical wastes that are regulated as a controlled substances from businesses, institutions and other care facilities.
    Fee schedule:  Routine refuse disposal rates apply

    This information above is offered as a public service in an effort to eliminate illegal and improper waste disposal. As the information may not be comprehensive, the Department encourages the public to research additional companies that are available for the services sought. The companies are not affiliated, endorsed or regulated by the Department. Accordingly, as with any professional service, please confirm the accuracy of the company’s information and request copies or verification of the company's license and/or permits to provide the service, prior to utilizing its services. Under no circumstances, directly or indirectly, shall the Department be held responsible or liable for reliance on this information.  If you would like to include your company on the list, please contact [email protected] or call (951) 486-3200.