Pharmaceutical Disposal

When you’re done with prescription medicine, it’s easy to forget about it as it sits unused in a drawer or medicine cabinet. But keeping unneeded medicine in the house is not a good idea, as it can harm children, pets, teens and adults if accidentally ingested or misused. 

SWACO provides Franklin County residents with information about and access to safe disposal options for expired, unused or unwanted prescription drugs. Proper disposal is important because it helps protect the environment, our loved ones and our communities. 

Safely Dispose of Prescriptions and Other Medicines

The best option for safely disposing of prescription medicines is at a prescription drug drop-off site. SWACO partners with 11 communities in Franklin County to make permanent collection sites available year-round. Each site accepts dry prescription pills with no questions asked. If you have other items, such as liquid medicines, inhalers, needles, creams or patches, please call first to verify they will be accepted. 

DEA National Prescription Drug Take-Back Days

SWACO supports the DEA National Prescription Drug Take-Back Days, held in April and October each year, by partnering with different communities in Franklin County to host collection events. These events give people a safe, convenient and responsible way to dispose of unused or expired prescription drugs.  

The next National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day will be April 22, 2023 from 10 am to 2 pm.

To check the list of locations by zip code, visit the DEA website here

Permanent Drug Drop-Off Locations

Please don’t put prescription drugs in the trash. Instead, stop by one of these locations to safely dispose of unwanted medications. Each location accepts dry, prescription pills. If you have other items such as liquid medicines, inhalers, needles, creams, or patches, please verify that they are accepted by calling first. 

Dublin Police Department
6565 Commerce Parkway
Dublin, OH 43017
Phone: 614-889-1112
Email Dublin Police Department

Franklin County Government Center Lobby
369 South High Street
Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: 614-525-4507
Email Franklin County Government Center

Hilliard Police Department
5171 Northwest Parkway
Hilliard, OH 43026
Phone: 614-334-2336
Email Hilliard Police Department

Madison Township Police Department
4567 Madison Lane
Groveport, OH 43125
Phone: 614-836-5355
Email Madison Township Police Department

New Albany Police Department
50 Village Hall Road
New Albany, OH 43054
Phone: 614-855-7544
Email New Albany Police Department 

Pickerington Police Department
1311 Refugee Road
Pickerington, OH 43147
Phone: 614-575-6911
Email Pickerington Police Department

Reynoldsburg Police Department

7240 E Main Street
Reynoldsburg, OH 43068
Phone: 614-866-6622

Westerville Division of Police 
229 Huber Village Blvd
Westerville, OH 43081
Phone: 614-901-6860
Email Westerville Police

Whitehall Division of Police
365 S Yearling Road
Whitehall, OH 43213
Phone: 614-237-6333
Email Whitehall Police

Worthington Division of Police
6555 Worthington Galena Road
Worthington, OH 43085
Phone: 614-885-4463
Email Worthington Police

Additional Information About Proper Disposal Methods

The best way to get rid of old or unused prescription drugs is by taking them to a drug drop-off site. But if that’s not possible, there are other ways to dispose of them. 

Almost all medicines can be thrown in your household trash. But follow these steps:

  1. Remove the drugs from their original containers
  2. Mix them with something undesirable, such as dirt, cat litter or coffee grounds
  3. Put them in a zippered storage bag or other sealed container
  4. Remove or conceal personal information on the medicine container
  5. Toss the sealed medicine and the empty drug container in the garbage

A small number of potentially dangerous prescription drugs can be flushed in the toilet, although this should be done only if a take-back location is not available. Visit the FDA’s website for a list of these drugs. Disposing of non-flushable pharmaceuticals down the toilet or sink can harm our environment and especially our waterways.

Additional Resources

U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s
“Where and How to Dispose of Unused Medicines

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s “How to Dispose of Medicines Properly”

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

For a list of drop-off locations outside of Central Ohio, visit the DEA’s website or

SWACO Is a Member of the Ohio Opioid Educational Alliance

SWACO is a member of the Ohio Opioid Education Alliance, a group of more than 40 corporate, association and community partners working together to combat the opioid epidemic. Through its “Don’t Live in Denial, Ohio” campaign, the alliance is educating people about the dangers of opioid abuse and trying to prevent the next generation of kids from abusing prescription opioids. 

As an organization responsible for our community’s waste management, SWACO is committed to spreading the message about the safe disposal of prescription opioids and other medicines. Holding on to leftover medicine is a dangerous practice, as nearly half of the young people who inject heroin start by misusing prescription pain medicine. But disposing of prescription drugs improperly is just as bad, as they can harm our rivers and streams not to mention kids, adults and animals who come across them.  

Visit the Don’t Live in Denial, Ohio, website and learn how you can keep your family safe from the scourge of opioids.