On Saturday, October 29, 2022, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Johnson County residents can properly dispose of unwanted or outdated pharmaceuticals and needles. The event will be held in the parking lot of the East Side Recycling Center at 2401 Scott Blvd. SE.

The event is organized nationally by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. The Iowa City Police Department, and the Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center partner to offer the local event. Events for pharmaceutical collections in other communities can be found online.

Can’t make it to the event? Find locations near you that accept unused or expired medications year-round here.

The National Prescription Drug Take-Back addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Many Americans are not aware that medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the three classes of medication most commonly misused are opioids typically prescribed to treat pain, central nervous system depressants used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders, and stimulants typically prescribed to treat attention-deficit hyper activity disorder. Misuse of prescription drugs has led to an increase in emergency room visits, treatment admissions for prescription drug use disorders and overdose deaths over the past 15 years, the agency reported in June 2020.

Pharmaceuticals should be in the original containers with names blacked out or in plastic baggies with no personal patient information.

How to safely transport needles and sharps

Sharps/needles should be contained in sealed, rigid plastic containers with firmly attached lids, such as coffee cans or laundry detergent bottles. Plastic containers made of thinner plastic - such as milk jugs - should not be used. Needles and sharps that come in unsafe containers - such as cardboard boxes, milk jugs, or plastic bags - will not be accepted. Needles can only be accepted from individual community members. Businesses and non-profit organizations should call 319-887-6160 for disposal options.

Please note we cannot accept any vaping materials. 

Can't make the event?

Please note that the City of Iowa City does not have a year-round drop off location for used or unwanted prescription drugs. Information for drug take back locations in Iowa City and across the state can be found here.

Event information and questions

For questions about the local take-back event, contact Iowa City Police Detective Niles Mercer at nmercer@iowa-city.org, or Resource Management Superintendent Jennifer Jordan at jejordan@iowa-city.org.

Date of publication

Monday, October 24, 2022