Medication/Pharmaceutical Waste

Do not flush unused, unwanted, and expired medications down the toilet or put them in drains!

Although flushing medication was a common practice used in the past, new studies show that prescription and over-the-counter drugs are not completely removed when passing through waste water treatment plants.  Harm to marine and plant life can be caused by improper disposal. 

Drug abuse isn't just about street drugs, over-the counter medication are the most commonly abused drugs in the U.S. They can be very addictive and dangerous!  Keeping expired or unused medication can lead to accidental drug overdose by children, drug abuse, theft and illegal distribution.  Keep your family safe.

  • Residents
  • Businesses

Controlled Substances

It is illegal for HHW collection facilities and events to collect controlled substances.  These are drugs that have a potential for addiction and/or abuse such as narcotics and tranquilizers.

Common controlled substances include:

  • Narcotic pain medications such as Vicodin, Oxycontin, and Codeine.
  • Sleeping pills such as Valium, Lunesta, and Ambien.
  • ADD/ADHS drugs such as Concerta, and Adderall.
  • Antidepressants such as Zoloft.
  • Cough syrups with Codeine

Click here for disposal information of controlled substances.

Chemotherapy Pharmaceuticals

Chemotherapy pharmaceuticals are prohibited at the County’s HHW collection facilities and events.  Chemotherapy pharmaceuticals should be returned to the clinic that dispensed them.

Why is Proper Medication Disposal Important?

Leftover and expired prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines can be found in every household in the county. Last year unintentional poisonings killed more Dane County residents than automobile crashes. Misuse or abuse of prescription, over-the-counter or illicit drugs are the major cause. Pain medication when misused, can be especially fatal.


This information above is offered as a public service in an effort to eliminate illegal and improper waste disposal. As the information may not be comprehensive, the Department encourages the public to research additional companies that are available for the services sought. The companies are not affiliated, endorsed or regulated by the Department. Accordingly, as with any professional service, please confirm the accuracy of the company’s information and request copies or verification of the company's license and/or permits to provide the service, prior to utilizing its services. Under no circumstances, directly or indirectly, shall the Department be held responsible or liable for reliance on this information.  If you would like to include your company on the list, please contact Waste-Approval@rivco.org or call (951) 486-3200.