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Unwanted Pharmaceuticals Take Back

Pharmaceutical Collection Program Locations

Items accepted include:

  • Prescriptions
  • Over the counter medications
  • Pet medications
  • Medicated ointment, lotions or drops
  • Liquid medications (in leak-proof containers)
  • Inhalers
  • Pills in any packaging (glass bottles, plastic containers, plastic bags, etc.)

Items not accepted include:

  • Illegal drugs & narcotics (although police will accept these items if placed in the containers)
  • Sharps/needles
  • Blood sugar equipment
  • Thermometers
  • IV bags
  • Bloody or infectious waste
  • Personal care products (shampoo, lotions, etc)

Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products (PPCPs) refer, in general, to any product used by individuals for personal health or cosmetic reasons or used by agribusiness to enhance growth or health of livestock. PPCPs comprise a diverse collection of thousands of chemical substances, including prescription and over-the-counter therapeutic drugs, veterinary drugs, fragrances, and cosmetics. Recent reports generated by the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. EPA have expressed concern over the growing levels of pharmaceutical and personal care products found in many of the nation’s largest cities drinking water supplies. Click here to view EPA diagram showing how PPCPs enter and impact the environment.

PPCPs have probably been present in water and the environment for as long as humans have been using them. The drugs that we take are not entirely absorbed by our bodies, and are excreted and passed into wastewater and surface water. Advances in technology are improving the ability to detect and quantify these chemicals, and we can now begin to identify what effects, if any, these chemicals have on human and environmental health.

Since we are just gaining a more complete understanding of PPCPs effect on waterbodies and most PPCPs cannot be removed by current water treatment technologies, it is a prudent to take steps that limit unnecessary entry of PPCPs into our nation’s rivers, lakes and streams.

Appropriate disposal of unused or outdated (unwanted) medications is one effective way to decrease the volume of PPCPs entering community waterways. Historically, there have been few locations for the take-back of unwanted medications. Therefore, the only drug disposal options for most people has been to flush unused medications or place them in the trash. Click here to view federal policy for Proper Disposal of Prescription Drugs from the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

The East Tennessee Medication Collection Coalition holds regional unwanted medications collection event at various sites across Anderson, Blount, Knox, Roane and Scott Counties. More info on event sites and contact information.