Dispose of Unneeded Medications During National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, April 24, and Year-Round

Page updated on Apr 16, 2021 at 9:48 AM

Dispose of Unneeded Medications During National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, April 24, and Year-Round


DBTD April 2021 2April 16, 2021--Safely dispose of unneeded prescription and over-the-counter medications, including those prescribed by veterinarians, during National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, April 24, at special collection sites, permanent medication drop-off locations, a new permanent needle disposal box or using safe methods at home.

Special collections will take place on April 24, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the following drop-off sites staffed by the Alexandria Police Department and the Alexandria Sheriff's Office:

  • First Baptist Church (2932 King St.)

  • Alexandria Police Department (3600 Wheeler Ave.)

  • Fire Station 210 (5255 Eisenhower Ave.)

  • The Neighborhood Pharmacy of Del Ray (2204 Mt. Vernon Ave.)

As required by state and local mandates, face coverings must be worn over the nose and mouth at all collection sites, and participants must remain at least 6 feet apart from others who do not live together.

The following locations offer secured permanent medication drop boxes for year-round disposal:

  • The Neighborhood Pharmacy of Del Ray (2204 Mt. Vernon Ave.), available Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.; and Sunday 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

  • Inova Alexandria Hospital (4320 Seminary Road, inside the visitor’s entrance and next to the cashier’s window), available daily 1-5 p.m.

  • Alexandria Police Department (3600 Wheeler Ave., inside the front entrance, ring bell for access), available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Inova Alexandria recently installed a separate permanent drop box for needles and syringes accessible at the same location and hours as the hospital’s drop off box for medications. Please note that no needles are accepted during the take-back event or in the permanent medication drop boxes.

For safe medication disposal at home, the Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition of Alexandria is promoting the availability of free Deterra drug disposal pouches through April 30. Request a free pouch online

If you do not have access to a drug disposal kit, follow these steps:

  • Check medication bottles for instructions on proper disposal. 

  • If no instructions are present, remove medication from its original container. Do not crush tablets or capsules.

  • Mix medication with an undesirable, inedible substance, such as kitty litter or used coffee grounds.

  • Place mixture in a sealable bag or container and throw away in the trash.

  • Black out all personal information on the prescription label so it is unreadable.

Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to misuse and abuse, and opioid prescription drugs are of particular concern. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 70% of the more than 70,630 drug overdose deaths in 2019 involved an opioid.

Drugs are also an environmental hazard to waterways and should never be flushed down the toilet. Drug take back days and permanent drop boxes help support the goals of the Eco-City Alexandria initiative to promote a place where people can live healthier and economically productive lives while reducing their impact on the environment. In 2020, the City collected 858.8 pounds of unused medication at drug take back day events and year-round permanent drop boxes.

Visit alexandriava.gov/Opioids for more information about safe medicine disposal and Alexandria’s efforts regarding the opioid crisis.