Unused, Expired Medication

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, opioid-involved overdose deaths in Tennessee are higher than the national rate. Studies show that those who abuse prescription medications often obtain them from friends or family, right from the medicine cabinet. According to a National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more Americans abuse prescription medications than those using heroin, cocaine and hallucinogens combined. With the increase in opioid use and drug abuse, it’s important to know what to do with unused, expired medication to keep it from falling into the wrong hands.

Do not dispose of unused or expired medications in the toilet or down the drain. As medications are flushed down the toilet or drain, they enter the wastewater system and travel to the wastewater treatment plants. Despite the thorough treatment and cleaning of the wastewater, some processes may not remove the chemicals in medications or the medications themselves. The medications can also end up in our water supply as well as in freshwater habitats, putting the health of humans and wildlife at risk.

Properly disposing of unused, expired medications is the safest and most environmentally way to protect our wastewater system, our community and the environment. The best choices for proper disposal include:

  1. Dropping off at participating pharmacies.
  2. Participating in a medicine take-back event.
  3. Dropping off at a medicine take-back facility.

There are roughly 100 take-back bins located across the state of Tennessee. To find a convenient location click the TDEC Take Back Map button below. To locate an authorized collector, call the Jackson Police Department at 731-425-2489 or click the DEA Disposal Locations link below.


TDEC Take Back Map DEA Disposal Locations