Learn about Dispose A Med in Pima County

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Dispose A Med is comprised of concerned citizens like yourself focused on minimizing the abuse of prescription medications amongst teens and preventing accidental drug poisonings of children and the elderly. By providing a safe and effective method of drug disposal, the Dispose A Med program minimizes the introduction of pollutants into our environment and helps insure high quality water in our aquifers.

Formed in 2009, Dispose A Med includes representatives from a variety of community partners including law enforcement, fire departments, pharmacies, water and wastewater utilities and community coalitions.

Our Mission

Dispose-a-Med works to be a resource to coordinate, educate and promote safe disposal, storage and use of prescription medication to protect public health, the environment and preserve drinking water.

Our Vision

Dispose-a-Med strives to provide the most effective information, resources and coordination of proper disposal of medication in southern Arizona.

Our Goals

Dispose-a-Med collaborative created a strategic plan for 2016-2017 that reflects nine community goals identified as a priorities to focus efforts and resources.

Proper Medicine Disposal Step-by-Step

There are numerous websites and pamphlets providing advice for the disposal of unused medications and many of these recommendations conflict with one another. Therefore here is a step-by-step guide recommended by Dispose A Med.

  1. Don’t flush medications down the toilet or down the drain.
    Sewage treatment plants cannot remove all of the pharmaceutical contaminants which could result in the pollution of our streams and the aquifers from which our drinking water is derived.
  2. Proper Medicine DisposalDon’t dispose of medications in the trash.
    There is ample literature advising people to mix unwanted medications with coffee grounds, kitty litter or similar undesirable substances prior to disposal in a trash receptacle. While this method may prove adequate for preventing the accidental ingestion by children or domestic pets, it does not address the wildlife that may come into contact with the trash once it is outside of your home. Our Sonoran Desert is inhabited by numerous wildlife species including coyotes, coatimundi and our favorite cactus eating friends the javalina, with less discerning tastes that love to rummage through garbage cans. None of us wants to leave for work in the morning to find our neighborhood streets littered with drug crazed, or worse, dead javalina.
  3. Bring your medications to a local Dispose-A-Med collection site, preferably still in the bottle.
    Don’t dump all of your medications into a single bag when transporting to a collection site. Should you happen to get pulled over by police en route to the collection site, you may have a hard time explaining the large bag of pills in your possession. Just leave the pills in the original bottle so they are easily recognized as medications and not illegal drugs. At collection events, the Dispose-A-Med members will gladly remove the labels for you to ensure your privacy and personal information is secure. When using the drop off locations, we take the contents and you keep the bottles.Find disposal events and locations.
  4. So what happens to all those pills?
    After each collection event or at drop off locations, all collected medications are incinerated in coordination with DEA. The high temperature incinerator effectively decomposes the pharmaceutical compounds thereby preventing pollution of the air, water and environment.

Want to Get Involved?

Whether you’re a parent or not, please learn more about how you can get involved and make a difference. Contact us through our feedback form to find out how you can help.


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