Protect groundwater and reduce the opportunities for harm to wildlife, pets and people by properly dealing with outdated or unused pharmaceuticals.

Do NOT flush pharmaceuticals or any other hazardous waste down the toilet or wash them down a drain.

Iowa City Police Department free med return

The Iowa City Police Department received a grant from CVS/Pharmacy's "Medication Disposal for Safer Communities" program for a "take-back" container that allows people to drop off and safely dispose of expired, unused or unwanted medications. The program also helps communities combat prescription drug abuse by keeping these medications off the street.

The red Med Return drop-off receptacle is located in the lobby of the Iowa City Police Station in City Hall at 410 E Washington Street. It is accessible to the public for medication drop-offs year-round, 24 hours a day. The container is designed to accept prescription and over-the-counter medications, as well as unfilled prescriptions, sample medications, prescription ointments and patches, vitamins and pet medications. It should not be used for disposal of hydrogen peroxide, inhalers, aerosol cans, medications from businesses or clinics, needles (sharps), thermometers, or non-prescription ointments, lotions or liquids.

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has operated a National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day for many years, but the CVS program takes that one step further by working with local police departments to provide a safe, year-round medication drop-off option.

For more information, contact Community Relations Officer Ashten Hayes. FREE disposal services offered to residents of Johnson County to promote proper disposal and to help prevent abuse of prescription drugs.

TakeAway Program

The TakeAway program aims to provide the public with a safe, easy way to properly dispose of unwanted and expired medications. TakeAway uses community pharmacies across the state as take-back sites. For a list of participating pharmacies in Johnson County, click here:

Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center’s Household Hazardous Waste Program 

The Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center’s Household Hazardous Waste program can also take non-controlled substances year round by appointment. To make an appointment, call 319-356-5185. This service is only available to residents of Johnson County and the cities of Kalona and Riverside. Businesses and non-profits may not use this service. Call 319-887-6160 for other options.

Last resort for disposal

An alternative is disposing of the drugs in your regular trash after taking these precautions:

  1. Pour medication into a sealable plastic bag. If medication is a solid (pill, liquid capsule, etc.), add water to dissolve it.
  2. Add kitty litter, sawdust, coffee grounds (or any material that mixes with the medication and makes it less appealing for pets and children to eat) to the plastic bag.
  3. Seal the plastic bag and put it in the trash.
  4. Remove and destroy ALL identifying personal information (prescription label) from all medication containers before recycling them or throwing them away.

Contact Jane Wilch with any questions.