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Safely Get Rid Of Old Medications During Drug Take Back Event

October 24, 2017

This Saturday, October 28, the public is encouraged to safely dispose of prescription and over-the-counter medications at more than 50 locations in the District and Virginia and Maryland suburbs, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Residents can bring any quantity and type of unused medication to drop-off points and safely dispose of them in minutes.

"Some folks mistakenly believe flushing old medications down the toilet or drain is a safe disposal method,” said DC Water CEO and General Manager George S. Hawkins.  “Yet that contaminates our waterways, which are often drinking water supplies, with pharmaceuticals and other chemicals.  We all share the responsibility of keeping our communities and water supplies safe, and proper medication disposal is an easy way for each of us to do our part.”

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is a nationwide event to promote the safe disposal of expired and unwanted medications and is backed by law enforcement agencies, water utilities and health officials. Proper medication disposal keeps communities safe by preventing drug abuse, accidental ingestion and water pollution. The service is free and anonymous.

DC Water supports national drug take back day in an effort to protect water supplies for the District of Columbia and locations can be found every police district. To find the nearest medication disposal site, visit

For those who can’t make it to the take-back locations this Saturday, a list of permanent, secure disposal locations in the region is posted at

Alternatively, residents can safely discard unwanted medication at home with these easy instructions:

  1. Take your prescription drugs out of their original containers.
  2. Mix drugs with an undesirable substance, such as cat litter or used coffee grounds.
  3. Put mixture into a disposable container that can be sealed, like a plastic bag.
  4. Conceal or remove any personal information on empty containers, including Rx number, by covering it with permanent marker or by scratching it off.

Check out the video below for a demonstration on proper home disposal of unwanted or expired medications: