Safe Medicine Disposal Program
Residents of Sonoma and Mendocino Counties can drop off their unwanted medications free of charge at medicine take-back locations throughout the region. The Safe Medicine Disposal Program is a partnership between local agencies, pharmacies, and law enforcement offices to safely dispose of unwanted medications, prevent overdoses, and protect the environment.
Protect young children from accidental poisoningsColorful pills and packaging can be attractive to young children. About 165 young children − or roughly four school bus loads of children − are seen in U.S. emergency rooms each day after getting into medications. Trips to the ER can easily be prevented!
Keep medications out of the wrong handsUnused and readily accessible medicines have the potential to be misused and abused, especially by teens. Prescription medications are the most commonly abused substance in the U.S.
Protect water quality in rivers and streams
Recent studies show that pharmaceuticals in rivers and streams, if present at high enough concentrations, can harm aquatic wildlife. When flushed down the drain, some medications are not completely removed by wastewater treatment plants. Proper disposal of unused medicine can help protect the environment.
"Extended Producer Responsibility" Ordinance
The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors directed the Sonoma County Department of Health Services, Sonoma County Water Agency and the entire Safe Medicine Disposal Collaborative to work on a Safe Medicine Disposal Ordinance.
The ordinance under consideration could require pharmaceutical companies to develop, implement, and pay for the collection, transportation, and final destruction of the products they manufacture or distribute. The ordinance would be based on the concept of “Extended Producer Responsibility” (EPR), which makes the product manufacturers financially responsible for the full costs of their products (including disposal).
Sonoma County Waste Management Agency is working to make it easier for residents to safely dispose of unwanted medication and needles. To do this in the best possible way, your input is needed. Please fill out this short 3-4 minute survey to let us know which disposal options would work best for you and to share your thoughts on this issue. Your responses will remain anonymous.