Medication Disposal

What are the proper, and eco-friendly, ways to dispose of  prescription and over-the-counter medications that are expired, unused or no longer needed? You have a couple of options, but first of all, please don't flush them down the drain; instead, the City offers alternative options.

Medicine Take-Back Programs

Medicine take-back programs reduce the chance that others may accidentally take the medicine. Learn more about the National Take-Back Programs or contact the Williamsburg Police Department for information on plans for local programs. You can also talk to your pharmacist to see if he or she knows of other medicine disposal programs in your area or if their pharmacy offers an alternative.

Drug Take Back Event

Bring in any unused or unwanted prescription and/or over the counter drugs. No questions asked. This is a FREE service to the community. Sharps/needles will not be accepted.

Sponsored by Williamsburg Police, Williamsburg/James City County Sheriff's Office and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency


  • James City County Police Department
    4600 Opportunity Way
    Williamsburg, VA 23188
  • Williamsburg Police Department parking lot
    425 Armistead Avenue
    Williamsburg, VA 23185
  • York County Sheriff's Office
    5338 Geo Washington Memorial Highway
    Grafton, VA 23692

Disposal in Household Trash

You can also dispose of most medicines in the trash, but first:

  1. Take them out of their original containers and mix them with an undesirable substance, such as used coffee grounds or kitty litter. The medication will be less appealing to children and pets, and unrecognizable to people who may intentionally go through your trash.
  2. Put them in a sealable bag, empty can, or other container to prevent the medication from leaking or breaking out of a garbage bag.
  3. 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.
  4. When in doubt about proper disposal, talk to your pharmacist.

You may have also received disposal directions for your medicines when you picked up your prescription. You can find instructions on how to dispose of the medicines at DailyMed.

More information is available from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).