A safer way to dispose of unwanted drugs

If you have unwanted or expired prescription and over-the-counter drugs, participating Kaiser Permanente pharmacies offer safe, convenient, and earth-friendly ways for you to throw them away.

Below, you’ll find information about how you can easily and safely get rid of unwanted medications.

Drug collection kiosks

Patients can drop their unwanted drugs into secure collection kiosks located in some Kaiser Permanente pharmacy lobbies. The kiosks are available during normal business hours.

To see if your local pharmacy has a kiosk, visit kp.org/facilities.

Pre-addressed mailer

At some Kaiser Permanente pharmacies, patients may have the option to get a pre-addressed mailer from their pharmacist. Patients can use these mailers to send their unwanted drugs to a company that safely destroys them.

If you get a pre-addressed mailer from your pharmacist, simply seal your medications inside and drop it off at your nearest U.S. Postal Service mail box. The mailers don’t include any markings to identify the contents, so mailing them is secure.

Accepted medications include:

  • Prescription drugs, including controlled substances and chemotherapy drugs
  • Pet medications
  • Liquids, ointments, syrups, elixirs
  • Prescription patches
  • Aerosol cans
  • Inhalers
  • Auto-injectors, such as EpiPen® or insulin pens
  • Medications in glass vials, such as methotrexate or insulin
  • Over-the-counter medications

Items not accepted include:

  • Needles, syringes, or lancets
  • Illegal drugs or marijuana
  • Non-pharmaceutical items, such as hydrogen peroxide and thermometers

Tips for safe disposal:

  • Keep your medication in original bottles or containers (rather than placing in baggies). Mark out or remove your personal information so it can’t be seen.
  • To avoid spills, please don’t put loose pills in the kiosk or mailer.
  • To throw away needles, syringes, or lancets, ask your pharmacist where to find the nearest collection container.

For other items not accepted, contact your local or county waste service or recycling service.

Questions and answers about throwing away unwanted drugs

Who can use the safe drug disposal program?

The program is open to Kaiser Permanente health plan members and nonmembers.

Why can’t I keep my old medication or throw it away in the trash?

By keeping unused or expired medications, there’s a chance they could be found and misused — accidentally or on purpose. Drugs thrown in the trash could also be found and misused, causing harm to another person.

By using our kiosks or sending the drugs in safe mailers, you can be sure your old drugs will be discarded quickly and safely.

Can I flush my old medications down the drain or toilet?

You shouldn’t flush any medications down the drain or toilet, as some drugs can pollute the water supply.

Check the FDA Drug Disposal Flush List if a take-back option is not available.