MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — If you have some old prescription pills in the medicine cabinet don’t throw them out because they could end up in the wrong hands if you aren’t careful.

That’s why places across the state are giving you the opportunity to safely get rid of unwanted, unused and expired medicine at collection events this weekend.

Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek said, “We’re trying to give them a safe and environmentally-friendly way of disposing it properly.”

Stanek said medicines flushed down the drain or tossed in the trash end up in landfills or can contaminate bodies of water, harm wildlife and end up in drinking water supplies.

Old pills in the home also pose health threats too. Expired medicine can lead to poisoning or drug abuse.

“Prescription drug abuse is one of the fastest growing problems in both the metro area as well as the United States,” said Stanek. “Our job is to help educate parents and young people about those dangers and try and remove them from the households.”

He said the majority of teens abusing prescription drugs get them from family and friends and from the home medicine cabinet.

According to Hennepin County Officials, the non-medical use of prescriptions ranks second only to marijuana as the most common form of drug abuse in America.

You can drop off your unused prescription or over-the-counter drugs at 46 sites around the state Saturday. Click here for a full list of sites in Hennepin County and here for other locations.

Comments (13)
  1. Leaf says:

    If flushed prescrption meds can get into our water, what does that say about fecal matter?

    1. Mark says:

      You’re a bit confused. Waste water is treated to remove and break down human waste, but prescription meds are mostly unaffected by the treatment process and the chemicals used therein, leading to accumulation in the water supply. Treating waste water for pharmaceuticals would be incredibly expensive.

  2. Happy in RedWing says:

    I know a dr that recycles certain meds to people that cant afford them.

    1. Ricky Rubio says:

      Thats probabably not legal, but good idea meds are expensive and some people need them., I wont tell on him.

  3. Chelsey Little says:

    Leaf…good point. I thought that was the job of the waste treatment plants to “clean” our water…but if its safe to flush poop down the potty, why not old medications?

    1. Mark says:

      Cleaning water isn’t a magic process. Waste water treatment breaks down and removes human waster from the water before returning it to the system. However the methods that accomplish this are not effective at breaking down stable compounds in pharmaceuticals. Using techniques like distillation or reverse osmosis to remove them would be extremely expensive compared to our current treatment methods.

  4. LaRayne says:

    All the people that take prescription drugs produce urine that goes into the water system. Flushing whole pills is more concentrated, but aren’t people contributing to the problem simply by using a toilet?

  5. Gene says:

    Two locations in Hennepin County …none for others without going to Wisconsin??
    Not a real strong effort.

  6. b says:

    Just another treehugger saying it is bad go to hell treehuggers

  7. Phil Mcrackin says:

    Bury them in your garden and watch your tomato’s grow.

  8. Ummmmmmm says:

    I had been told they could go tback o the pharmacy and they would dispose of them. Tried that and was told to take them home and flush them down the toilet.

  9. c says:

    Yeah as with recycling old monitors, televisions, oil, and now drugs. They make it as inconvenient and time consuming as possible for the public. Why don’t they just have a handful of locations around the state you can drop all this stuff off without so much hassle and so many restrictions. If they actually cared about the environment and wanted to have maximum impact they would do this. Have you tried recycling an old computer? Wait in line, have to be there by 6pm, can’t recycle more than two or three items, can’t drop off after hours…blah blah…a total waste of time. That’s why everyone throws stuff in the trash convenience…oh yeah and the new light bulbs all have some mercury in them…that will end up in the trash and polute our landfills also.

  10. John Gettler says:

    Not a single drop off in Dakota County. I put in 55124 Apple Valley and it’s say none within 10 miles, and Stillwater, Prescott and Hudson are the closest. Well I guess forget it then.

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