Pharmaceutical Disposal

Why should I properly dispose of medical waste?

An improperly disposed needle, syringe or lancet can pose serious health hazards to the public, garbage haulers, and City landfill and wastewater employees. If flushed down the drain, pharmaceuticals can accumulate in water systems and contaminate water supplies, potentially affecting the natural hormones and development of wildlife.

How can I properly dispose of unused pharmaceuticals?

The Sioux Falls Police Department offers a “Drug Take Back” program. This program allows citizens to drop off unused medications in a locked container in the lobby of the Law Enforcement Center from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Friday, by properly disposing of unused medications, the “Drug Take Back” program helps to keep our environment safe.

If there are no proper disposal options, Federal guidelines offer the following recommendations:

  1. Do not flush medications down the toilet.
  2. Leave pharmaceuticals in original container. Remove any personal information from the container but leave medication information clearly visible.
  3. Modify the contents to discourage consumption.
    • Solid Medication—add a small amount of water to at least partially dissolve them and follow the instructions for liquids below
    • Liquid Medication—add enough table salt, kitty litter, coffee grounds, charcoal, or non-toxic powdered spice, such as mustard seed, to make a pungent, unpleasant mixture; it should be solidified with no free liquid after mixing
    • Blister Packs—wrap packages containing pills in multiple layers of opaque tape, like duct tape
  4. Tape the container shut with a strong adhesive, like duct tape or packaging tape. Because there are no outlets for disposing of pharmaceuticals at this time, best practice is to place the container in with your regular household trash.

How can I properly dispose of used needles (sharps) for free?

For information regarding needle disposal, please visit Needles Information.