Safely Dispose of Unwanted Medication

All medications, including over-the-counter products, can be harmful if disposed of in an incorrect manner.

What to do With Your Unwanted Medications

Please Note: These instructions can vary from state to state and town to town. If you are not a Westford resident, please verify with your own local health department.

Westford Police Department

Safe and Secure Drop Off
24 hour Drop Box in Police Department Lobby
53 Main Street
Westford, MA 01886

Directions for Disposal

  1. Remove medications (per chart below) from original containers and put in an unmarked sandwich sized zip-lock baggie.
  2. Throw original pill containers in your household trash.
  3. Bring baggie to kiosk in Police Department Lobby and dispose of in kiosk slot.

Approved Items: Pills or Capsules Only

  1. Medication Samples
  2. Narcotics
  3. Prescription and Over-the-Counter
  4. Veterinary Medications
  5. Vitamins

Non-Approved Items

  1. Any Liquid Form of Any Medication: Liquid medications - save and bring to the next Drug Take Back Day
  2. Hydrogen Peroxide
  3. Inhalers
  4. IV Bags
  5. Needles or Any Medication in a Syringe: Needles and syringes can be disposed into the Sharps Kiosk found in the other lobby of the Police Department or in the Health Department (Directions for proper needle and syringe disposal)
  6. Personal Care Products
  7. Thermometers and Mercury items: Mercury containing thermometers, button batteries, thermostats, etc. can be brought to the Health Department
    55 Main Street
    Westford, MA 01886

Incorrect Disposal Causes Harm in the Following Ways

Environmental Harm

At one time, flushing was believed to be the safest way to dispose of medicine. Flushing medications was thought to protect children and pets from accidental ingestion of unused medication and to decrease the chance of the medication being misused.

Pharmaceuticals detected in surface waters come primarily from patient use. Although small amounts of medicines pass through the human body without being metabolized completely and can make their way to surface waters through the municipal wastewater treatment system, properly disposing of unused medications by not flushing them or not pouring them down the drain is a small step we can take to keep our waterways clean.

Accidental Adult, Pet & Child Poisonings

Many families have unused or expired pharmaceuticals in their homes. Adults can become ill by accidentally taking the wrong medication or wrong dose if older prescriptions are not disposed of. The more medications stored in a home, the greater the chance a child, grandchild, or pet might venture to play with or ingest them.

Loose medications thrown into the trash can leak or fall out during the trash pick up process, thereby becoming available to wildlife, pets and children or can be washed into our waterways.

Illegal Theft & Use

Prescription drug abuse is on the rise among teens who steal pills from parents or grandparents. At times, they will only take one or two pills from a container and mix them and/or sell them.

Medications have been stolen during house break-ins and some criminals will even go through a person's trash at the curb. This is especially true if it is known that a person in the home has certain medical conditions.