Pharmaceutical Disposal

Safely Dispose of Prescriptions and Medicines

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. 

The best option for safely disposing of prescription medicines is at a prescription drug and medicine drop-off site. Thankfully, there are dozens of these locations throughout Franklin County that are 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. 

Prescriptions and Medication Drop-off Locations Near You

Many pharmacies will take back your unused prescriptions and medications.  The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration provides a useful search engine that can help you find a location near you

You can also use Google Maps and type in "drug disposal near me" or "medication disposal near me" to find the nearest drug disposal site.

DEA National Prescription Drug Take-Back Days

SWACO also 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 provide families and residents a safe, convenient and responsible way to dispose of unused or expired prescription drugs.  

The next National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day will take place in October 2023. More details to come! 

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

Police Department Permanent Drug Drop-Off Locations

A number of local Police Departments also host permanent take-back locations.  Each location accepts dry prescription pills. If you have other items such as liquid medicines, inhalers, needles, creams, or patches, please call ahead to verify that they are accepted.  

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

By far 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.