ResourcesMeds & Sharps Disposal Resources
SAFE STORAGE AND DISPOSAL OF MEDICATIONS AND SHARPS/SYRINGES BENEFITS EVERYONE’S HEALTH AND WELLBEING
Did you know, secure storage and proper disposal of medications and sharps/syringes are the most effective deterrents to accidental injury, poisonings, overdose, medicine theft, and misuse that can lead to prescription drug addiction? Stay informed about the benefits for safeguarding medications and sharps/syringes, as well as talk with loved ones about the potential risks for ingesting or taking medicine not prescribe for them and the dangers of sharps/syringe related injuries. Follow these healthful tips to keep medicines and sharps/syringes safe and your loved ones free from harm. Scroll down to view smart storage tips, as well as find nearby locations and convenient options to properly dispose of medications and sharps/syringes for FREE in Southwest Washington.
Safe, free medicine disposal options in Southwest Washington
Proper disposal of medications using a take-back program is important for the health and safety of our families, community, the environment, and waterways. Do not place medicine in the trash or recycling, and never flush them down the toilet as it pollutes the environment and waterways or could be misused by someone for whom it wasn’t prescribed.
Proper Medicine Disposal Tips
- Dispose of all unused and expired medicine immediately and properly.
- Do not place medicine in the trash or recycling, and never flush it down the toilet or drain as it pollutes the environment and waterways or could be misused by someone for whom it wasn’t prescribed.
- Properly dispose of expired and unwanted medicine by dropping it off at a drug take-back event, a year-round disposal site, or dispose of it by mail. Learn more at MED-Project.org or bit.ly/DEATake-Back.
Medicine drop-off kiosks are located at pharmacies and law enforcement offices for Southwest Washington residents to drop-off expired or unwanted medicine for safe and free disposal. For more information about the location nearest to you, please visit the “Convenient Locations” portion of the MED-Project web site, or call the hotline at 1-844-MED-PROJECT.
Safely dispose of unwanted and expired medicine and inhalers by mail at no charge to Southwest Washington residents. Complete an online form to request a pre-paid, pre-addressed mail-back packages. Instructions for disposal will be provided with all mail-back services.
Local drug take back events are held twice annually in April and October and offer Southwest Washington residents a free and convenient way to dispose of expired or unwanted medicine and Sharps/syringes. As of April 30, 2022, drug take back events in Southwest Washington (Clark, Skamania, Klickitat counties) have collected 51,026 pounds of prescription and over-the-counter medications.
Sharps and Syringe Disposal
What are sharps?
Sharps include hypodermic needles, syringes or intravenous (IV) tubing with needles attached, scalpel blades, and lancets that have been removed from the original sterile package.
How do I safely store sharps or syringes?
- Place the items into an approved sharps disposal container immediately following use. These are available to purchase through pharmacies and online.
- If an approved sharps container is not available, use an alternative rigid plastic container with a well-secured lid – for example: plastic bleach or laundry detergent bottles. Do not use glass, aluminum, or thin plastic containers.
- Always label your containers with: WARNING SHARPS – DO NOT RECYCLE.
- Never overfill a sharps disposal container. No materials should be sticking out of the container.
- Never put sharps in the garbage or recycling and keep sharps disposal container away from children.
Where to dispose of sharps
Sharps, needles, and syringes are accepted at the transfer stations for free disposal during all hours of operation and are also accepted during scheduled hours at Share syringe exchange programs in Clark County. Use an approved sharps disposal container or rigid plastic bottle with screw top.
Label your containers with: WARNING SHARPS – DO NOT RECYCLE.
Clark Transfer Stations & Syringe Return Program
Goldendale Transfer Stations
*Sharps containers are provided free of charge at Klickitat County transfer station
Pre-filled Injector Products Disposal
Pre-filled injector (i.e. Epipen) mail-back service is available, free of charge, to all Washington residents upon request through MED-Project.
- Inhaler mail-back services are available, free of charge, to all Washington residents upon request through MED-Project.
- Inhalers can be taken to the transfer station at the locations and times listed above. You can remove the cartridge from the case, and throw the case in the trash.
Why Safely Dispose of Medication?
1. Stop accidental poisoning
- About half of the Washington State Poison Center calls are related to young children accidentally ingesting medications found at home.1
- Young children, pets, and seniors are at risk of accidental poisonings by unlocked medications in the home.
- In the case of an accidental ingestion, call the Poison Help number, 1-800-222-1222, open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
2. Reduce Access to prescription drugs
Did you know 63.4% of people who misused prescription pain relievers did not have a prescription themselves and received the medications from a friend, family member, or another source? 2 In fact, more than 4 in 10 teens who misused or abused a prescription drug took it from their parent’s medicine cabinet. 3 Keep all medications, alcohol, and marijuana locked and out of reach of teens and young children.
3. Keep our waterways and environment healthy
- Reduce chemicals in the environment by disposing of medications at a drug take back site, mail-back program, or drug take back event.
- Do not flush medications down the toilet or drain – drugs are harmful to our water and our environment. 3
- Do not throw away medication in the trash – it’s easily accessible to people going through trash, or it will eventually end up in our water or environment.
- Washington Poison Center: takebackyourmeds.org 2017
- Partnership for Drug Free Kids
- LOTT Clean Water Alliance
- At home and on-the-go, store medicine safely in a locked location away from people and pets. Learn more at LocksSaveLives.org or GetTheFactsRx.com.
- Resist the urge to keep medicine handy by returning it to a locked location after each use.
- Use child-resistant caps and close the caps tightly after each use.
- Don’t share prescription medication with others as it’s illegal and may cause them harm.
- Keep inventory of medicines to know how many pills are left and if any are missing