Safely dispose of prescription drugs Oct. 24 during National Prescription Drug Take Back Day |

Safely dispose of prescription drugs Oct. 24 during National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

Local law enforcement agencies will be participating in the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, Oct. 24. Personnel from the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, Vail Police Department and Avon Police Department will host collection sites from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Vail Municipal Building, Avon Walmart and the City Market in Eagle.

Personnel from the Carbondale Police Department will also host collection sites from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Carbondale Police Department.

This is an opportunity to clean out medicine cabinets of all unwanted, expired or unused medications and have them disposed of safely. The service is free and anonymous with no questions asked.

Getting rid of unused medication helps prevent the accidental and intentional misuse of prescription medications. Local agencies including the Eagle River Water & Sanitation District support the safe disposal of medications because it helps to protect water sources by keeping drugs out of local wastewater and landfills.

The collected items will be incinerated in an environmentally friendly manner by the Drug Enforcement Administration, which spearheads the national effort. Locally, the DEA’s National Take Back Initiative is coordinated by the Safe Drug Disposal Program, which is a partnership among local agencies including the Vail Police Department, Avon Police Department, Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, Vail Health, Eagle County, and Eagle River Water & Sanitation District.

Items that can be dropped off on Saturday are vitamins, supplements, medicated ointments/lotions, over-the-counter and prescription medications, including controlled substances (narcotics). No needles (sharps) or pressurized canisters will be accepted.

Latest take back day stats

In October 2020, Americans turned in 882,919 pounds of prescription drugs at 6,174 collection sites set up by the DEA and its 4,896 law enforcement and community partners across the nation. In Colorado, 60 law enforcement agencies collected 15,872 pounds of prescription drugs at 97 sites.

Now in its 10th year, DEA-coordinated Take Back events nationwide have removed more than 11 million pounds of expired, unused and unwanted prescription medications from circulation. To locate a collection site nearest you, visit or call 800-882-9539.

Public safety and public health

This initiative addresses a public safety and public health issue. Unused prescription medications in homes can be accidentally ingested, stolen, misused and abused. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet. Also, Americans know that outdated methods for disposing of unused medicines — flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash — pose potential safety and health hazards.

In 2014, new regulations made the disposal of controlled prescription drugs easier for patients and their caregivers. Since then, law enforcement agencies, pharmacies, hospitals and clinics have begun a continuous collection of these medications.

Year-round disposal sites

There are also permanent medication take-back receptacles in the Eagle River Valley and in the Roaring Fork River Valley.

In the Eagle River Valley, the Vail Police Department, Avon Police Department and Eagle County Sheriff’s Office each host a dropbox as part of the Colorado Household Medication Take Back Program sponsored by the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention.

Green drug disposal drop boxes are located in the lobby of the Vail municipal building, the Avon Police and Public Safety Facility, and in the Eagle County Justice Center on Chambers Avenue in Eagle. These law enforcement drop boxes can accept unwanted medications during regular business hours. The year-round disposal service is free and items may be deposited anonymously with no questions asked.

The Vail Pharmacy located inside Vail Health Hospital, the Edwards Pharmacy located inside the Shaw Pavilion, the Carbondale Police Department, and the Basalt Police Department can accept unwanted medications, free of charge, by appointment or during regular business hours. These businesses cannot accept controlled substances as those may only be collected by law enforcement agencies.

Miscellaneous waste including sharps and syringes can be accepted at the Eagle County Household Hazardous Waste facility located at 815 Ute Creek Road, Wolcott, CO 81655. For questions, contact the HHW facility directly at 970-328-3463.

For more information, visit

Support Local Journalism

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User