Unwanted Medications

Don’t Flush Unwanted Medications

To protect local drinking water systems, officials strongly recommend disposing over-the-counter and prescription medications at an established drop-off site or mixed with regular trash. Medicine.jpeg

Arlington’s municipal solid waste is incinerated at the energy-from-waste facility so unnecessary medications, when thrown away, will be destroyed safely.

Proper Disposal

Arlington residents can safely and securely dispose of unused, unwanted or expired medications any day, any time at three sites. The service is free and anonymous – no questions asked. Permanent drug take-back boxes are located at:

Arlington County Fire Station #2 – 4805 Wilson Blvd.
Arlington County Fire Station #5 – 1750 S. Hayes St.
Arlington County Fire Station #9 – 1900 S. Walter Reed Dr.
Arlington County Police Department – 2000 block of 14th St. N.

Items accepted at the drug take-back boxes are prescriptions, vitamins, prescription ointments, pet medications, prescription patches and over-the-counter medications. Items not accepted are needles, inhalers, aerosol cans, thermometers, lotions or liquids and hydrogen peroxide. 

Preparation/Other Disposal Options:

  • Remove unused or expired prescription drugs from the original container. Add water to melt the pills, then place them in an unattractive substance such as used coffee grounds or kitty litter and put them in your garbage.
  • Ask your pharmacy if it accepts and disposes of unused medications.
  • Drop off medications at a designated Arlington location during one of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day events.

Amid concerns about trace amounts of medications found in drinking water, Arlington’s water supply is safe and meets Environmental Protection Agency standards. The Washington Aqueduct provides Arlington’s drinking water, drawn from the Potomac River and treated. Regular sampling and testing ensure the water delivered to residents is safe and of the highest quality.