Kansas Medication Disposal Program

Each year in Kansas, millions of prescription medications go unused or expire. The Kansas Medication Disposal Program offers Kansans a convenient, safe and environmentally responsible option for disposing of unwanted medications. Proper disposal reduces accumulation in the home and the subsequent risk of unintentional poisoning, drug abuse and diversion. By utilizing a take-back location for your unused medications, you help us to limit the environmental impact that they may have on our surface and groundwater. Please join us in this important endeavor to safeguard our families and the environment.

Link to map of Kansas Medication Disposal Program drop-off sites


Pharmacy Program Information

Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Program Information

External Links

For more information, contact Megan MacPherson at 785-296-1617 or Megan.MacPherson@ks.gov

Kansas Medication Disposal Program logo

What medications are accepted?

The following list of items may be taken to a location that accepts uncontrolled medications for disposal. This list is not all inclusive and you may want to contact the location if you have a specific item not seen below.

  • Uncontrolled prescription medications
  • Over the counter medications
  • Medication samples
  • Pet medications
  • Vitamins
  • Liquid medications in glass or leak-proof containers
  • Medicated ointments and lotions
  • Inhalers

Pharmacies can NOT accept the following items.

  • Narcotics and other controlled substances
  • Illicit drugs
  • Bloody and infectious waste
  • Needles or other sharp objects
  • IV Bags
  • Bandages
  • Personal care products
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Aerosol cans
  • Thermometers
  • Empty medication containers

Household Hazardous Waste Facilities can NOT accept the following items.

  • Narcotics and other controlled substances
  • Illicit drugs
  • Bloody and infectious waste
  • Needles and other sharps
  • IV Bags
  • Bandages
  • Empty medication containers

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What is an uncontrolled substance?

An uncontrolled substance is a drug or other substance that is not considered to be a controlled substance under the Controlled Substance Act (DEA regulations 21 CFR Sections 1308.11 through 1308.15). A controlled substance is a drug or other substance that is controlled under the Controlled Substance Act due to its potential for abuse and likelihood of causing dependence. For more information about a prescription medication please contact your physician or pharmacist.

For a current list of controlled substances please visit the following site: https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/schedules/index.html.

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How do I prepare medications for drop off?

Take back locations can accept medications in many types of packaging including glass, plastic bottles, bubble packs, containers, or sealable plastic bags. If possible make sure that the containers are not leaking or damaged. Leaking or damaged items should be put into sealable plastic bags to prevent spilling.

Once you have gathered all of your unwanted medications from throughout the house, it is important to remove or block out any personal identification from the containers. This can be done with a permanent marker or by removing the label itself. You can also empty pills into a sealable plastic bag for disposal as an added convenience.

It is important to make sure that the controlled substances are separated from the other medications because only law enforcement agencies are allowed to take back controlled substances.

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Where do I take them?

You can drop off your uncontrolled medications at any participating pharmacy or household hazardous waste collection facility. For a list of participating locations please check our locator map or contact your local pharmacy. Please contact your local law enforcement agency to ask them if they are currently accepting controlled substances.

If you are unable to take your medications to a drop off location you can dispose of them in your household trash through the kitty litter/coffee ground method. Do NOT flush prescription drugs down the toilet or drain unless the label specifically instructs you to do so.

Explanation of the kitty litter/coffee ground method: Remove the medications from their original packaging and crush, dissolve, or thoroughly mix the medications with water or another liquid. Blister packs can be wrapped in duct tape or other obstructive material. Then add it to coffee grounds or kitty litter to make it as undesirable as possible. Place the entire mix in a container such as a sealable plastic bag, coffee canister, detergent bottle, or equivalent container and dispose of it in the trash. The objective is to make the contents as contained, concealed, and distasteful as possible to lessen the likelihood that children or animals will ingest them. This method is recommended so that the medications will be unrecognizable if someone were to go through your trash.

Never share or give medications to friends or family! A prescription medication that works for you could be dangerous or potentially fatal for someone else.

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Program resources for pharmacies

Pharmacies have the option of choosing the type of pharmaceutical storage container for use within the pharmacy. Biohazard, sharps, or medical waste containers are not recommended, since this may cause confusion and improper disposal. Pharmaceuticals collected through the take back program should have the weight recorded separately from other business generated pharmaceuticals to be disposed. The containers should be able to be closed to reduce accidental spills or leaks. Containers should not be accessible to the public and should be in a secure location within the pharmacy.

Recommendations for take back disposal containers:

  • Cardboard box with structural integrity containing a removable plastic liner
  • Plastic container with a plastic liner if the container is to be reused
  • Plastic gallon jugs suitable for disposal
  • Metal or wood container with a removable plastic liner
  • Other manufactured containers from vendors or supply catalogues
    • 2 to 40 gallon plastic pharmaceutical containers
    • Cardboard mail back containers

Please contact your current waste disposal contractor or pharmacy supply company for more information on the types of containers available for purchase or use.

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Program resources for HHWs

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