Disease Control & Prevention
 
  Where to drop off unwanted medication  
 
 

Drop Box ImageGraphic of prescription pills

Unwanted and unused prescription medications are a problem; they can pose health risks as a result of accidental poisonings or intentional misuse, as well as environmental risks if they make their way into the environment.

Removing these medications from the home eliminates the possibility of them getting into the wrong hands, thereby reducing the risks of accidental poisonings and prescription drug abuse. Link to Opioids and Teens. Also, taking the time to dispose of medications through the public collection network means that unwanted medications won’t end up down the drain. Septic systems and even the wastewater treatment system (sewer) are not designed to, nor are they capable of, removing all medications from treated wastewater. Levels of some medications are virtually unchanged after treatment, meaning that these drugs enter the environment through discharges or land application (biosolids). Evidence is mounting that indicates that medications in our waterways are affecting aquatic organisms.

To make disposing of these medications easy and convenient for county residents, Thurston County Public Health & Social Services in cooperation with the Washington State Department of Ecology, the Thurston County Sheriff’s office, and local police departments have teamed up to provide a number of convenient drop-off locations for used medications.

Please note: none of the locations listed accept sharps (needles), thermometers, bloody or infectious wastes, or wastes from medical businesses. If you use sharps, learn how to dispose of them safely.

Also, please keep in mind that the drop boxes are designed for collection of prescription medications only. Please take items like shampoos, lotions, vitamins and over the counter medications to HazoHouse for disposal.

Medicine Take Back Sites (Drop Boxes)

The following sites accept prescription medications, including controlled substances*, prescription samples, pet medications, medicated ointments or lotions, inhalers and liquid medications in leak proof containers.  

We recommend that you call locations in advance to make sure that the hours are current and that the drop box is not currently full.

Kaiser Permanente - pharmacy
700 Lilly Rd. NE, Olympia
 
Kaiser Permanente, West Olympia-pharmacy
1200 Cooper Point Rd. SW, Ste. 100 Olympia
 
Martin’s Southgate Drug
5201 Capitol Blvd. SW, Tumwater
 
QFC Pharmacy
4775 Whitman Ln. SE, Lacey
 
Ralph’s Thriftway Pharmacy
1908 Fourth Ave. East, Olympia
 
Rite Aid, stores countywide
Walgreens
1510 Cooper Pt. Rd. SW, Olympia
Lacey Police Department
420 College St. SE, Lacey
Open Mon, Weds, Fri, 10am - 5pm
 
Olympia Police Department
601 Fourth Ave. East, Olympia City Hall
Open Mon - Fri, 10am - 3pm
 
Tenino Police Department
358 McClellan St. SE, Tenino
Open Mon - Fri, Call for appt. - 360-264-2626
 
Tumwater Police Department
555 Israel Rd. SW, Tumwater
Open 7 days a week, 24 hours a day2
Yelm Police Department
206 McKenzie Ave. SE, Yelm
Open Mon - Thurs, 8am - 5pm,
Fri, 7:30 - 11:30am & 12:30 - 4:30pm

This list is available for download.

Last Resort

If you are unable to make it to one of the drop-off locations, medications can be discarded in your trash. This is not our recommended option, as medications in the trash have the potential for misuse. They can also make their way into the environment when landfill liquids are sent to sewage treatment facilities. If this is your only option, please take the following steps:

  1. Take your prescription drugs out of their original containers.
  2. Mix drugs with an undesirable substance, such as cat litter or used coffee grounds.
  3. Put the mixture into a disposable container with a lid, such as an empty margarine tub, or a sealable bag.
  4. Conceal or remove any personal information, including Rx number, on the empty containers by covering it with black permanent marker or duct tape, or by scratching it off.
  5. Place the sealed container with the mixture, and the empty drug containers, in the trash.

 

If you have additional questions, please call the Solid & Hazardous Waste hotline at 360-867-2664.

*Controlled substances are regulated by state and federal laws designed to prevent addiction, abuse, physical and mental harm, and illegal trafficking thereof. Such drugs are illegal for sale or use, with the exception of those dispensed under a physician's prescription for use only by the intended person.

 

 
This page last updated: 05/19/21