Text Size
Increase text size
Increase text size

Household Medications and Pharmaceuticals


Collection for Disposal Program


DO NOT flush medications down the toilet or drain. Flushing even small quantities of household medications down the drain can contaminate drinking water supplies.


The preferred method for the management of expired or unwanted household medications is to collect them and either take them to a medication take-back program or for larger quantities, contact a medical waste service provider for disposal. If your are unsure if your medication is a controlled substance, ask your pharmacist.


  • The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's Medication Take-Back Project does not accept narcotics or other controlled substances, but will accept other prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, pet medications, vitamins and medicated ointments or lotions. Visit www.coloradomedtakeback.info or call 303-692-2903 to see if there is a collection box in your area. 

  • Your local city or county government may offer a local collection program. Call them or visit their website for information regarding local collection programs. Please note that local programs or events may or may not accept narcotics or other controlled substances.

  • The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) drug collection events do accept narcotics and other controlled substances. Visit their website at http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/index.html for information on their next drug take-back event. 

  • The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) website has information on local independent pharmacies offering medication disposal programs.

  • Most commercial medical waste service providers accept prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, medication samples, pet medications, vitamins, liquid medication in leak-proof containers, medicated ointments and lotions, inhalers, personal care products, and IV bags. They do not accept narcotics or other controlled substances, hydrogen peroxide, aerosol cans or thermometers. 


List of Medical Waste Service Providers pdf file   

Household Medical Waste Compliance Bulletin pdf file   

Household Medical Waste Frequently Asked Questions pdf file   


This guidance is intended for small quantities of medications from a household only. For more information on the proper disposal of household medications, visit www.smarxtdisposal.net.