Main content
City of Alexandria Homepage
Friday, May 22  •  78°Partly Cloudy Air Quality: Green
CloseWeather Forecast
Today: High 75° Low 49°
Partly CloudyAir Quality: Green
Sat: High 73° Low 53°
SunnyAir Quality: Green
Sun: High 84° Low 64°
Mostly SunnyAir Quality: Yellow
Mon: High 90° Low 68°
Partly CloudyAir Quality: Yellow
Tue: High 90° Low 70°
Mostly SunnyAir Quality: Yellow
City of Alexandria, VA City of Alexandria, VA
Health Department
Share Share RSS RSS Print Print Text Size Text Size NormalText Size LargeText Size Extra Large
Page updated Apr 2, 2015 9:16 AM

No Comments Posted Yet

How Should I Dispose of My Drugs Safely?

Drug Take-Back Programs

The best option to dispose of all expired, unused, or unwanted medications is to participate in local drug “take-back” programs sponsored by the Alexandria Police Department and Sheriff’s Office. Historically these have been conducted twice a year (in the spring and fall). More information regarding dates and locations may be available at:

Disposal in Trash

Another disposal option for most drugs may be in the regular trash following these FDA guidelines (see exceptions below under "Flushing"):

1. Remove them from their original containers and mix them with an undesirable substance, such as used coffee grounds or kitty litter (this makes the drug unpalatable and unrecognizable to people who may intentionally go through the trash seeking drugs).

2. Place the mixture in a sealable bag, empty can, or other container to prevent the drug from leaking or breaking out of a garbage bag.  Place the bag in the regular trash can, not in the recycling bin.

3. Needles and syringes should be disposed of in a hard plastic container, such as a detergent bottle, capped securely, and labeled as "Sharps,” then placed in the refuse. Needles and syringes should never go into the recycling bin.


Flushing – is ONLY recommended for a small number of medications:

A small number of medicines may be especially harmful and, in some cases, fatal with just one dose if they are used by someone other than the person for whom the medicine was prescribed.

The following link is a list from the FDA advising what medicines you should flush down the sink or toilet to help prevent danger to people and pets:

Other Guidelines:

Before throwing out a medicine container, scratch out all identifying information on the prescription label to make it unreadable. This will help protect your identity and the privacy of your personal health information.

Do not give your medicine to friends. Doctors prescribe medicines based on a person's specific symptoms and medical history. A medicine that works for you could be dangerous for someone else.

When in doubt about proper disposal, talk to your pharmacist.    

For further information, please consult the following:

4480 King Street
Alexandria, VA, 22302
Fax: 703.746.4938

Office Hours:
Monday - Friday
8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Closed Thursday Mornings