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No flushing medications!

Medications and personal care products are being detected in rivers, waterways, and groundwater. Wastewater treatment facilities are not equipped to filter out these chemicals, so they are showing up in drinking water.

In addition, many children are accidentally poisoned each year by items found in the home. Studies also show that individuals who abuse prescription drugs often obtained them from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. Washtenaw County has seen an increase in opioid overdose deaths since 2012, from prescription drugs like OxyContin to street drugs like heroin.

In order to protect our families and the environment, we must ensure that medications and personal care products are properly handled, stored and disposed!


Washtenaw County Pharmaceutical Take-Back Program

The Pharmaceutical Take-Back Program allows Washtenaw County residents to take back their old, unwanted medications to a pharmacy to be properly disposed - for FREE! In compliance with the Controlled Substance Act (CSA), enforced by the Drug Enforcement Administration, this program DOES NOT ACCEPT any controlled/scheduled drugs.

Medication Collection Instructions:

  1. Gather your unwanted medications. Please see the list below to find out which items are and are not accepted.
  2. Leave items in their original containers. Pill bottles, blister packs, ointment tubes, and leak-proof liquid containers are all acceptable.
  3. Remove or black out any personal information on the label to protect your privacy, but make sure the drug name is still visible.
  4. Take medications to a participating pharmacy (see list below), and deliver the medications to the pharmacy counter.

what is accepted

what is not accepted

Non-Controlled DEA Drugs 
Medication Samples 
Prescription Medications
Over-the-counter Medications 
Medicated Ointments/Lotions
Cold and Flu Medications 
Medications for Pets 

pill bottle

Narcotics/DEA Scheduled/Controlled Drugs
Sunscreen Products
Insect Repellants
Tobacco Products
Hair Care Products
Personal Care Products 
Radioactive Items
Business Waste
Hydrogen Peroxide, Rubbing Alcohol, etc.
Aerosol Cans
IV Bags
Bloody or Infectious Waste
Empty Containers
Sharps/Needles (*unless pharmacy approves - see below)


Participating Pharmacies in Washtenaw County:

**This information is current as of August 2016. Please call any of the participating pharmacies with specific questions.**

Ann Arbor Professional Pharmacy
6 W. Michigan Ave.
Ypsilanti, MI  48197
Map and Directions
(734) 477-9006

ChelseaCare Pharmacy/St. Joseph Mercy - Chelsea
775 S. Main St.
Chelsea, MI 48118
Map and Directions
(734) 593-5900
*also takes back sharps containers

Clark Professional Pharmacy [must be pharmacy customer]
3280 Washtenaw Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI  48104  
Map and Directions
(734) 369-8782
*also takes back sharps containers

Dexter Pharmacy
2820 Baker Rd.
Dexter, MI 48130
Map and Directions

(734) 426-1600
*also takes back sharps containers

Dixboro Pharmacy
5770 Plymouth Rd.
Ann Arbor, MI  48105
Map and Directions
(734) 214-1234

Eastern Michigan University - Snow Health Services Pharmacy
1199 Ford St.
Ypsilanti, MI  48197
Map and Directions
(734) 487-1125

Jensen's Community Pharmacy - Saline
968 E. Michigan Ave.
Saline, MI  48176
Map and Directions
(734) 429-9053
*also takes back sharps containers

Pharmacy Solutions, Inc.
5204 Jackson Rd., Suite C
Ann Arbor, MI 48103
Map and Directions
(734) 821-8000

Saline Pharmacy
75 E. Bennett St.
Saline, MI 48176
Map and Directions
(734) 316-2162

St. Joseph Mercy Pharmacy - Reichert
5333 McAuley Dr.
Ypsilanti, MI 48197
Map and Directions
(734) 712-2222
*also takes back sharps containers

St. Joseph Mercy Pharmacy Towers
5301 E. Huron River Drive
Ann Arbor, MI 48106
Map and Directions
(734) 712-3333


Big Red Barrel Program & State Police Take-Back Program

The "Big Red Barrel" program is a partnership with local law enforcement agencies. People can dispose of prescription or over-the-counter pills, INCLUDING controlled substances like OxyContin, Vicodin, and Percocet - for FREE!   

*PILLS ONLY. NO liquids, NO syringes.

Participating Big Red Barrel Locations in Washtenaw County:

Big Red Barrel

Chelsea Police Department
311 S. Main St.
Chelsea, MI  48118
Map and Directions
Accessible 24 hours.

Dexter Village Sheriff Station
8140 Main St.
Dexter, MI  48130
Map and Directions
Accessible 24 hours.

Manchester Village Sheriff Station
912 City Rd.
Manchester, MI  48158
Map and Directions
Accessible 8:00a.m. - 6:00p.m., Monday - Friday and during library hours.

Milan Police Department
35 Neckel Court
Milan, MI 48160
Map and Directions

Saline Police Department
100 N. Harris St.
Saline, MI 48176
Map and Directions
Accessible 24 hours.

Scio Township Sheriff Station
1055 N. Zeeb Rd.
Ann Arbor, MI  48103
Map and Directions
Accessible 24 hours.

Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office
2201 Hogback Rd.
Ann Arbor, MI  48105
Map and Directions
Accessible 8:00a.m. - 5:00p.m., Monday - Friday.

Ypsilanti Police Department
505 W. Michigan Ave.
Ypsilanti, MI  48197
Map and Directions
Accessible 8:00a.m. - 5:00p.m., Monday - Friday.

State Police Take-Back Program:

All 29 Michigan State Police posts across the state now serve as collection points for prescription drugs - INCLUDING scheduled drugs. Medications can be surrendered Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m., excluding holidays. No appointment is needed. Liquids, inhalers, patches or syringes are not accepted. Visit the Michigan State Police Post web page for addresses and locations. 


Locations Around Michigan for Medication Disposal

Lenawee County - Big Red Barrel

Livingston County - Big Red Barrel

Oakland County - Operation Medicine Cabinet

AWARxE Program is an information source providing authoritative resources about medication safety, prescription drug abuse, medication disposal, and safely buying medications on the Internet.

Michigan Pharmacists Association

Michigan Pharmacists Association (MPA) hosts a Medication Disposal Event each year in September on the south Capitol lawn in Lansing. Watch this site for additional details in the spring or early summer and check the website for more medication disposal information.

Michigan Medical & Veterinary Care Facilities

Michigan Medical & Veterinary Care Facilities - Guide for Safe Disposal of Unused Medication.


Mail-In Programs

TakeAway Environmental Return System [Available at CVS & Walgreens]

Simply purchase the Environmental Return System postage prepaid envelope and fill it with your unused patient medications. Then just drop it in the mail. OR place unused patient medications in the Environmental Return System postage prepaid drop-off box which is then shipped through UPS. The return shipping cost is prepaid with both options. The TakeAway Environmental Return Systems are transported to Sharps’ treatment facility where they are processed by law enforcement.

Medication Disposal Guidelines

If you are unable to drop off your old medications at any of the participating pharmacies or law enforcement agencies, please follow the guidelines below for safe disposal of medications within the home.

View our 4-minute video on safe disposal of medications!

Please CONTACT US with comments on the video. Thanks!

Medication Disposal Guidelines:

  1. Clear out old medications for safety sake! "Medicine Chest Confusion" can result when leftover or expired pharmaceuticals are stored, sometimes leading to dangerous mix-ups. Or they can get into the wrong hands - medications are a major source of poisoning in young children.
  2. Don't put medications down the toilet or sink! Whether you are on a septic system or municipal sewer, traces of flushed chemicals can reach the environment. Research shows that neither system removes them completely.
  3. Wrap and Trash! Remove or black out any personal information on the label, but ensure the drug name is still visible. Wrap medication containers in duct tape, followed by several layers of plastic bags, to prevent crushing in the trash truck and contents spilling out. Many people are reluctant to send medications to the landfill for fear they will someday reach the groundwater aquifer. But modern landfills are lined, and the leachate is collected and treated to remove the harmful compounds.


For More Information:

Call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222



Washtenaw County Logo

Jonathan Pelukas
Environmental Coordinator
Washtenaw County Office of the Water Resources Commissioner



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