Safely Dispose of Unwanted or Expired Medicines in San Francisco

Date: 
Friday, January 4, 2013

The Bay Sends a Wave of Thanks!

San Francisco’s Safe Medicine Disposal program has collected over five tons of expired or unwanted medicine since the program began last April. In just nine short months, San Franciscans have turned in enough medicine to outweigh the Waterford crystal ball that drops in Times Square! 

Why is it important to safely dispose of medicine instead of throwing it away, flushing it down the toilet, or storing it? This medicine can pollute the bay and ocean, or be accidentally misused or abused. Wastewater treatment plants are not designed to remove medications or other chemicals in wastewater, so after traveling down your drain, medicine may affect our environment. For example, antidepressants have been shown to disrupt the reproductive cycles of fish. Beyond this, collecting prescription medicines is important to keep controlled substances from falling into the wrong hands, since more drug overdoses occur annually from prescription medicines than cocaine and heroin combined.

Thankfully, San Francisco residents are safely disposing of unwanted or unused medicines in full force! Rather than store, flush, or trash expired or unwanted medicines, many are properly disposing of this medicine at collection sites throughout the city. There are 23 volunteer collection sites in total: 13 independent pharmacies and all 10 police stations. Click here for details on how to prepare for your visit, then check RecycleWhere to find a collection site near you. 

This program continues to grow thanks to conscientious residents, volunteer collection site partners, and the San Francisco Police Department. Do your part by choosing a New Year’s resolution that is easy to fulfill: properly dispose of unwanted or expired medicine at a collection site near you!