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The issue of drug abuse strikes at the heart of communities across the USA, igniting a collective urgency to combat its destructive impact. From the devastating toll on individuals and families to the broader societal ramifications, the repercussions of drug abuse are far-reaching and profound. Hence, we at Elkin Insurance find it imperative to remove drugs from our homes and communities resonates deeply. Safe drop-off locations provide a tangible solution, offering a secure avenue for disposing of unused or expired medications. This proactive approach not only mitigates the risk of accidental ingestion or misuse but also disrupts the cycle of substance dependency by eliminating access to potentially harmful substances. By actively participating in this initiative, we not only safeguard our households but also contribute to the larger effort of safeguarding public health and fostering safer, healthier communities for all.

Drug Disposal: Drug Take Back Options:

The best way to safely dispose of most types of unused or expired medicines

Medicine take back options are the best way to safely dispose of unused or expired prescription and nonprescription (for example, over the counter) medicines.

Before disposing of prescription medicines, be sure to remove all personal information on pill bottle labels and medicine packaging.  All of your medicines dropped off at the take back locations will be destroyed.

Permanent Collection Sites

Some facilities and businesses are registered with the U.S. DEA to collect your unused or expired medicines. Find an authorized drug collection site near you or call the DEA Diversion Control Division Registration Call Center at 1-800-882-9539 for more information about these collection sites.

These collection sites safely and securely gather and dispose of your unused or expired medicines, including those that contain controlled substances. In your community, authorized collection sites may be retail, hospital, or clinic pharmacies; and/or law enforcement facilities. These collection sites may offer on-site medicine drop-off boxes; mail back programs; or other in-home disposal methods to assist you in safely disposing of your unused or expired medicines.

Lastly, you can go to Google MapsExternal Link Disclaimer and type in "drug disposal near me" or "medication disposal near me" to find your nearest drug disposal site.



Medicines with Specific Disposal Instructions

For safety reasons, there are a few, select medicines with specific instructions to immediately flush down the toilet only if a drug take back option is not readily available. For more details, refer to the FDA’s flush list.

Periodic Events

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) periodically hosts National Prescription Drug Take Back events. During these Drug Take Back Days, temporary drug collection sites are set up in communities nationwide for safe disposal of prescription drugs.

Local law enforcement agencies may also sponsor medicine take back events in your community. You can also contact your local waste management authorities to learn about events in your area.

What is Operation Medicine Drop?

North Carolina Operation Medicine Drop

The opioid epidemic is not only a National crisis but a North Carolina crisis as well. An average of 4 people per day are dying from overdose in NC with 79% of those deaths involving some type of opioid. Drugs not properly disposed of may end up getting into the wrong hands or end up in our water system.

Operation Medicine Drop (OMD) is a FREE drug take-back program that gives people a safe and secure way to dispose of unwanted over-the counter and prescription medications.

Since the first NC drug take-back event this program has:

  • Collected more than 344 million pills;

  • Supported over 4,525 events;

  • Assisted in the placement of over 500 drop box locations



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FDA’s Flush List for Certain Medicines


If you received specific disposal instructions from your healthcare provider (e.g., doctor, pharmacist) for your unused or expired medicine, you should follow those instructions to dispose of your medicine. The best disposal option is to find a drug take back location, which may be found in retail, hospital, or clinic pharmacies; and/or law enforcement facilities.

If you don’t have a drug take back location near you, check the FDA’s flush list to see if your medicine is on the list. Medicines on the flush list are those (1) sought-after for their misuse and/or abuse potential and (2) that can result in death from one dose if inappropriately taken.  If children, adults, or pets in your home accidentally or intentionally ingest, touch, misuse, or abuse a medicine on the flush list, they can suffer serious consequences including death. An example of a medicine on the flush list is fentanyl transdermal system (also known as a fentanyl patch), which contains an opioid.  If a drug take-back program is not available, flushing medicines on the flush list helps keep everyone in your home safe by making sure these powerful and potentially dangerous medicines (when used inappropriately) are not accidentally or intentionally ingested, touched, misused, or abused.

Remember, don’t flush your medicine unless it is on the flush list.

Impact of flushing medicines on the environment:

FDA recognizes that the recommendation to flush a few specific medicines when a take back program is not readily available raises questions about the impact of the medicines on the environment and the contamination of surface and drinking water supplies.

In an effort to address this concern, FDA staff published a paper entitled "Risks Associated with the Environmental Release of Pharmaceuticals on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ‘Flush List’". This paper evaluates the environmental and human health risks associated with the flushing of 15 active ingredients found in these medicines. FDA concluded that these medicines present negligible risk to the environment. However, some additional data would be helpful for confirming this finding for some of the medicines.

FDA believes that the known risk of harm, including toxicity and death, to humans from accidental exposure to medicines on the flush list far outweighs any potential risk to human health and the environment from flushing these unused or expired medicines. Remember only flush medicines on the flush list if a take-back option is not readily available. FDA will continue to conduct risk assessments as a part of our larger activities related to the safe use and disposal of medicines.

Check out the Medication Disposal Q&A for more information about flushing.

Drugs That Contain Opioids

Any drug that contains the word “buprenorphine”


Any drug that contains the word “fentanyl”


Any drug that contains the word “hydrocodone” or “benzhydrocodone”


Any drug that contains the word “hydromorphone”


Any drug that contains the word “meperidine”


Any drug that contains the word “methadone”


Any drug that contains the word “morphine”


Any drug that contains the word “oxycodone”


Any drug that contains the word “oxymorphone”


Any drug that contains the word “tapentadol”


Drugs That Do Not Contain Opioids

Any drug that contains the term “sodium oxybate” or “sodium oxybates”


Diazepam rectal gel


Methylphenidate transdermal system


Dispose "Non-Flush List" Medicine in Trash


If no drug take back sites, locations, or programs are available in your area, and there are no specific disposal instructions (such as flushing) in the medication guide or package insert, you can follow these simple steps to dispose of most medicines in your trash at home*:

  1. Mix medicines (liquid or pills; do not crush tablets or capsules) with an unappealing substance such as dirt, cat litter, or used coffee grounds;

  2. Place the mixture in a container such as a sealed plastic bag;

  3. Throw away the container in your trash at home; and

  4. Delete all personal information on the prescription label of empty medicine bottles or medicine packaging, then trash or recycle the empty bottle or packaging.

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Please click to visit the website to find locations in your area.

Yadkin Valley Locations

Bridge Street Pharmacy INC

(336) 835-3131

817 North Bridge Street, Elkin, NC 28621

Monday-Friday 9:00am to 6:00pm, Saturday 9:00am to 1:00pm

Elkin Police Department

(336) 258-8910

226 North Bridge Street, Elkin, NC 28621

Open 24 Hours, 7 days a week

D Rex Pharmacy

(336) 835-6407

450 Winston Road, Jonesville, NC 28642

Monday-Friday 9:00am to 7:00pm, Saturday 9:00am to 1:00pm

Surry County Sheriff's Office

(336) 401-8900

218 North Main Street, Dobson, NC 27017

Monday-Friday 8:00am to 5:00pm

Yadkin County Sheriff's Office

(336) 679-4217

210 East Hemlock Street , Yadkinville, NC 27055

Monday-Friday 8:00am to 5:00pm

Rite Aid

(336) 679-8844

932 South State Street, Yadkinville, NC 27055

Monday-Friday 9:00am to 9:00pm, Saturday 9:00am to 6:00pm, Sunday 10:00am to 6:00pm

North Wilkesboro Police Department

(336) 838-3158801 Main Street, North Wilkesboro, NC 28659

Monday-Friday 8:00am to 5:00pm


(336) 651-29101395 West D Street, North Wilkesboro, NC 28659

Open 24 Hours, 7 days a week


Brame Huie Pharmacy

(336) 838-8988

1920 West Park Drive, North Wilkesboro, NC 28659

Monday-Friday 8:30am to 6:30pm, Saturday 8:30am to 2:30pm

Wilkes County Sheriff's Office

(336) 903-7600

381 Executive Drive, Wilkesboro, NC 28697

Monday-Friday 8:00am to 5:00pm


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