Colorado Household Medication Take-Back Program

Interactive map of collection box locations

  Map of take-back locations

Use this interactive map to find take-back locations that participate in the State program. Walgreen’s, some other pharmacies and some law enforcement agencies collecting on their own, while not part of this program, have been included for completeness (we recommend calling these locations to verify hours and items acceptable for disposal).

  List of take-back locations

A list of the take- back locations found on the map.

Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention 

  takemedsseriously.org

The program accepts and destroys unused and expired over-the-counter and prescription medications generated by households. All locations accept prescribed controlled substances (i.e., Percoset, Vicodin, Xanax, Ritalin and Adderall).
Medications may be deposited in their original containers, but you can help conserve space in collection bins by pouring pills/capsules into a zip-top bag and then trashing or recycling containers separately. Strike out personal information on pill containers before depositing in collection bins or trashing/recycling them. Do not deposit excessive packaging, like cardboard boxes, in the collection bins.

Business wastes, including those generated in health care facilities, cannot be deposited in program kiosks.
 


What if I can't access a collection site?

If you can’t access a permanent collection site, visit takemedsback.org to see if a collection event might be scheduled in your area. Mail-back envelopes or drug deactivation/disposal pouches can be purchased at some pharmacies. Ask your pharmacist for additional information. If none of these options are available, do not flush medications. Flushing can pollute water supplies. Follow the steps below for proper trash disposal.

  • Remove medications from their original containers and place in a zip-top bag or a sealable container with a secure lid (make sure you remove pill labels or cross out any identifying information and recycle or dispose the bottles separately).
  • Do not crush or attempt to dissolve pills and capsules.
  • Mix with something that can’t be eaten, like kitty litter or coffee grounds.
  • Wrap the bag or container in newspaper or a plain brown bag to conceal its contents.
  • Place it in your trash on the day it gets picked up or taken to a landfill.

Can I donate unused drugs for use by others?

There are no programs currently operating in Colorado that will accept unused drugs donated by individuals. However, other states operate programs that will, and will accept them by mail. These programs have strict guidelines that must be
followed, including prohibitions on prescribed controlled substances, refrigerated medications, and expired or soon-to-be expired medications. Wyoming’s Medication Donation Program and Iowa’s SafenetRx Program are two such programs available to Colorado residents.

Contact

Lynette Myers
(303) 692-3477
lynette.myers@state.co.us

 

Can be accepted:

  • Prescription medications, including prescribed controlled substances (DEA Schedule II– V).
  • Over-the-counter medications.
  • Liquid medications (small amounts in original, non-leaking containers).
  • Medicated patches (Used Fentanyl and Duragesic® patches are extremely hazardous. They may be folded in half, sticky-side together, and flushed down the toilet.)
  • Medication samples.
  • Medicated ointments.
  • Vitamins.
  • Pet medications.
  • Unused drug injection cartridges, e.g. unused EpiPens® and insulin pens (must be unused with needle still protected inside).
  • Unused inhaler canisters, e.g. Advair®, Spiriva®, ProAir® and Ventolin® (must be unused, no empty canisters or unneeded plastic holders/mouth pieces).

This guidance applies only to wastes generated by households. Businesses, including health care facilities, must follow their governing rules and regulations.
 
  Disposal guidelines for businesses

Cannot be accepted:

Household Needles/Sharps

Handle with Care! Skin punctures may transmit blood-borne infections.

Disposal Options:
  1. Sharps Collection Programs.
  2. Mail-in Sharps Containers (some pharmacies and websites sell sharps containers with mail-in labels, ensuring proper treatment and disposal. There is an added cost for this service).
  3. Proper Trash Disposal
  • Never put a container of sharps in with recyclables. Sharps are not recyclable and not only can they pose an infection risk to workers at recycling facilities, they can render whole batches of recyclables unusable.
  • Used needles/sharps should never be placed loosely in the trash or flushed down the toilet.
  • Use a sharps container purchased from a pharmacy or other source, or use a strong plastic container (HDPE plastic with #2 recycling symbol) with a screw-top lid. Used laundry detergent bottles work well. Never use paper or plastic milk jugs. They can puncture. Never use glass containers. They can break and make the hazard worse.
  • Containers of sharps should be clearly labeled as “Sharps” or "Biohazard Waste.”
  • Once filled, the container should be firmly sealed (tape the lid) to prevent spillage.
  • Store the sealed sharps container away from children and pets.
  • Place the sealed sharps container in the trash on the day it gets picked up or taken to a landfill.

Chemotherapy Drugs

If you’ve undergone treatment with radioactive pharmaceuticals for a disease like thyroid cancer, some wastes you produce may be contaminated with residual radiation. Certain wastes may have to be temporarily stored before placing them out with your trash. You and your caregiver should closely follow instructions provided by your doctor about waste disposal.

The Comprehensive Cancer Center Pharmacy at Saint Joseph Hospital accepts chemotherapy drugs for disposal. Call (303) 318-3490 for more information.

Personal Care Products

Most personal care products can be disposed in the trash, but some local household hazardous waste programs may accept these products along with household cleaning products. Contact your local program directly, or contact your city/county government for program contact information.

Thermometers and Other Mercury Containing Devices

Some local household hazardous waste programs will accept thermometers and other mercury containing devices. Contact your local program directly, or contact your city/county government for program contact information.

All Colorado Ace Hardware stores and other Colorado businesses participate in a program to recycle mercury-containing thermostats. Visit Thermostat-Recycle.org for a complete list of locations.
Also, Holy Cross Energy and Alpine Bank have teamed up to accept compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) for recycling at several locations in the Vail, Glenwood Springs and Aspen areas. Ace Hardware stores will accept them as well.

Medical Tools and Supplies

Some charities will accept medical tools and supplies in good, usable condition. Project CURE is one such charity. Call (303) 792-0729 for more information.

Bloody or Infectious Waste

Soiled bandages, dressings and disposable sheets should be placed in securely fastened plastic bags before being placed in household trash. Trash containing these potentially infectious wastes should be stored out of the reach of children and pets until it can be picked up or taken to a landfill.

Marijuana

Unused marijuana and marijuana-infused products that was obtained by an individual for recreational or medical use may be disposed by placing in household trash or taken to a landfill. The marijuana must be rendered unrecognizable and mixed with other items of trash. Place in the trash on the day it gets picked up or taken to a landfill.

Illicit Drugs

Contact your local law enforcement agency for guidance.

Empty Containers

Empty containers should be recycled, if possible. Check the lists of acceptable recyclables provided by your curbside recycling service or local recycling program. Non-recyclable items should be placed in household trash or taken to a landfill. Strike personal information (i.e. patient name and prescription number) from prescription pill bottles before recycling or trashing them.