Medication Disposal

Incorrectly getting rid of your unwanted drugs might be more dangerous than you think. 

Washington state has one of the highest death rates from drug overdoses is in the country.  Of all the children statewide who die from being poisoned, more than 30% of them had taken someone else's medication. 

If you thought about flushing drugs, or tossing them in the sewer, please don't. Protect Spokane's drinking water and environment.  Flushing drugs can contaminate or pollute our drinking water which comes from the aquifer. It is also not safe to throw them in the garbage, because someone could take it out, and misuse it

If you have unwanted prescription drugs, safely get rid of them, so they don't end up in the wrong hands. 


What You Can Do
  • Dispose of Unwanted Medications. 

    Spokane County has a solid-waste program at the Waste Energy Plant, where unused medications are burned in a hot garbage incinerator.

    Prescription medications are considered Household Hazardous Waste.  Prescription medications, needles, syringes and sharps can be dropped off free of charge at the North and Valley Transfer Stations on weekends only.  The WTE facility accepts HHW 7 days a week.  Use the original container with the label intact whenever possible. 
  • Check with your pharmacy to see if they will also take back your unused, disposable medications.  
  • Flush prescription drugs down the toilet ONLY if the patient information says it is safe to do so. 

  • Crush medications, then mix them with an undesirable substance, such as dirt, kitty litter or coffee grounds—then, put them in a bag and throw in the trash.

  • Organize a community medication take-back program to dispose of medicine, or through DEA-authorized collectors. If these programs are not available to you, mix the meds with used coffee grounds, dirt, or kitty litter and place the mixture in a plastic bag. Next, dispose of the bag through household trash, or take it to one of the four Spokane County Household Hazardous Waste drop-offs. In addition, make sure to remove all personal information before disposing of the medication container.  (Source: IN Health Magazine, John R. White, “Clean Out the Cabinet”, December 2015 - January 2016)

  • Secure medications at home.  Parents and grandparents—lock up your medicine cabinets.  Nearly l in 5 teenagers say it is easier to obtain prescription drugs than it is to buy marijuana, beer or cigarettes.  If you have pain medications which you no longer need, get them out of your house. 

  • FYI – In British Columbia drug manufacturers have helped fund this solution for a decade.  Drug companies should accept a responsibility in helping get their drugs out of circulation.