Department of Public Works

No Drugs Down the Drain
Schedule Your guide to household hazardous waste

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

How should I dispose of my medications?

What are medications, pharmaceuticals, and drugs?

  • Prescription drugs
  • Over-the-counter medications
  • Aspirin, ibuprofen, etc.
  • Cold/flu remedies
  • Antiseptics (germ killing liquids)
  • Birth control pills
  • Hormone replacement drugs
  • Veterinary medicines
Prescription Medication Prescription Medication Prescription Medication

It is illegal for household hazardous waste collection centers 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 codeine, phenobarbital, and anabolic steroids. For your convenience, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department offers a Safe Drug Drop Off program where both controlled and non-controlled substances are accepted at designated stations. Take to designated Sheriff's stations for safe and anonymous disposal.

Pharmaceutical Take-Back Program
Click Here for Details
Why is this important?

Medications flushed down the toilet or in drains pass through the sewer system and eventually enter our streams, lakes, and rivers. Medicines and synthetic hormones have been detected in trace amounts in water bodies. This could lead to increased bacterial resistance to antibiotics and interference with growth and reproduction in aquatic organisms such as fish and frogs.

The presence of medications in the environment is a complex issue and the risk to humans and the environment is still being determined. With tens of thousands of medicinal products on the market and more being developed each year, the long-term risks have not been determined on the effects on the environment. However, in order to minimize the potential negative and irreversible impacts, it is important that we limit the disposal of waste medications to the sewer.

The California Pharmacists Association has partnered with No Drugs Down the Drain and recognizes the need to divert waste medicines from the sewer. The Drug Take-Back Network serves as a central information source for parties interested in learning about drug take-back and disposal issues.
Managed by the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works, Environmental Programs Division
Toll Free Phone Number: 1(888) CLEAN LA
Clean LA Home| Clean LA FAQ| About Clean LA| Clean LA Site Index| Contact Clean LA
Adobe Reader