Dispose of Medications Properly

In efforts to keep our wastewater treatment facilities operating properly, we are asking that residents not flush down the toilet (or pour down the drain) medicines, vitamins and other supplements.

They may enter lakes, rivers and streams, which are often used as sources for community drinking water supplies. Medicine can interfere with wastewater treatment plant operations. For example, antibiotics can destroy the beneficial bacteria used to treat organic matter. Also, treatment facilities were not designed to remove medications, so medicine could pass through the facility and potentially harm plants or fish downstream or even end up in our water supply.

Doctors are now suggesting that these flushed medications are causing polluted waters to change the hormones in marine life. Endocrine disruptors now being found in the water may be causing the increase in cancer cases, early puberty in females, and other medical conditions which cause concern.

To some scientists, the release of antibiotics into waterways is particularly worrisome. They fear the release may result in disease-causing bacteria to become immune to treatment and that drug-resistant diseases will develop.

DISPOSAL OF MEDICINE, VITAMINS AND OTHER SUPPLEMENTS PROPERLY CAN HELP:

  • Prevent unintentional poisoning of children and pets
  • Prevent misuse by teenagers and adults, even people you know
  • Prevent health problems from accidentally taking the wrong medicine, too much of the same medicine, or a medicine that is too old to work well
  • Prevent medicines and supplements from entering streams and rivers when poured down the drain or flushed down the toilet

For the past two years, Prattville Police Department, the Alabama National Guard, and Peers Are Staying Straight (P.A.S.S.) have coordinated an effort as part of the National Take Back Initiative to keep people from holding on to or improperly disposing of old prescriptions or over the counter medications. If you feel you cannot wait for this annual event, please follow these helpful tips in getting rid of these medications properly:

meds-disposal

Prattville Police Department now takes in unwanted, unneeded medications from residents 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You may drop off medication, vitamins, other supplements, and contraband to an officer inside the Police Department. Anyone who chooses to turn in any illegal drug, substance or paraphernalia to the Police Department will receive amnesty, no questions asked. PPD just wants it off the street. These items will be processed appropriately along with confiscated drugs that are slated to be destroyed.

While Prattville Police Department will accept all the drugs and medications referenced above, they cannot accept needles as those fall under the category of bio-waste. ADPH/ADEM Handling and Disposal of Home Medical Waste...A Household Guide for Alabamians .

EPA brochure

Update on Medication Disposal Program (Drug Drop)

Once announced on July 5th, the medication disposal program reaped immediate results. In the first couple days of the program, approximately two pounds of medication was turned into the Prattville Police Department. As of July 19th, PPD had collected roughly 3 pounds of medication from residents.

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Medication collection and stored in the vault. The first photo shows medication collected in the first few
days of the program. The second photo depicts what has been collected in the following week. It will
be destroyed with confiscated drugs (case evidence) in a manner more respectful of our environment.

This program was started in an effort to persuade residents to dispose of medications properly. Flushing medication down the toilet (or pouring it down the drain) may negatively impact our environment. They may enter lakes, rivers and streams, which are often used as sources for community drinking water supplies. Medicine can interfere with wastewater treatment plant operations. For example, antibiotics can destroy the beneficial bacteria used to treat organic matter. Also, treatment facilities were not designed to remove medications, so medicine could pass through the facility and potentially harm plants or fish downstream or even end up in our water supply.

“With the success of this year’s National Take Back Initiative where PPD, in conjunction with the National Guard and the DEA, collected over 63 pounds over unneeded, unwanted medications, came the idea to provide a drop off point on a continuous basis to keep these drugs out of the water supply, wastewater facility, and also the hands of our youth,” said Mayor Bill Gillespie. “Prattville Police Department is offering amnesty to anyone who turns in any illegal drug, substance or paraphernalia. No questions asked. The goal is to get these items off the street.”

Citizens may bring these items to the Police Department at 101 West Main Street and hand their items to a uniformed officer any time of the day or night. If you have any questions about drugs or drop off, you may contact Chief Thompson at or 334-361-3632.

New Drop Box Further Enhances Drug Drop Program

dropbox08162012-4On July 5, 2011, the City of Prattville started a Medication Disposal Program to allow citizens to dispose of their unwanted or unused medication. We took this program one step further and offered amnesty to anyone who turned in any illegal drug, substance or paraphernalia with no questions asked. This program has been very successful and PPD has been looking for ways to continue to enhance this important service.

PPD is pleased to announce that they have been awarded a grant that has provided a drug drop box for this program. Through a grant from Endo Pharmaceuticals, the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators (NADDI) Rx Drug Drop Box program will increase the ability for citizens to easily and properly dispose of unneeded, expired, or unwanted medicines. We would like to encourage all the citizens of Prattville to bring their unwanted or unused medication to be disposed of properly by PPD. This prevents the possibility of these drugs circulating on our streets or end up in the hands of our children. The program is strictly confidential and no information is required in order to drop the medication off.

Most prescription medications should not be flushed down the toilet or thrown into the trash. The NADDI Rx Drug Drop Box program addresses a vital public health and safety issue. Medicines that languish in home medicine cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high. Studies show that individuals that abuse prescription drugs often obtain them from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinets.

The box is in response to our successful 2011 Rx Drug Drop Box Program and Take Back events in which millions of dosage units of medicine has been collected from patients and to the growing number of expired, unused and unwanted pharmaceuticals in the home. The secure mailbox style box will be permanently located inside PPD where citizens can walk in and deposit their unwanted, expired medicines during normal business hours.

The Prattville Police Department must agree to certain guidelines: 

  • we cannot accept Hypodermic Needles or Liquid forms of Medication;
  • we must ensure that the boxes are not tampered with in any way;
  • and to provide a regular schedule for removing the prescription drugs that are deposited by their citizens.

These drugs will then be handled in the same manner that other licit and illicit drugs are handled by the Prattville Police Department, leading to the ultimate proper destruction of theses prescriptions.

If you have any questions about this program, please direct them to Chief Mark Thompson at or (334) 361-3632.



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