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Dose of Reality: Permanent Drug Drop Boxes

Permanent drug drop boxes are a convenient way to safely dispose of unused and expired medications.

Stored in a medicine cabinet, these medications can be misused by your family, friends, and other visitors to your home. Thrown in the trash, these medications can fall into the hands of people who have no medical use for them. Flushed down a toilet or poured down a drain, these medications can contaminate our water supply.

That's why we encourage you to dispose of these medications year-round at a permanent drug drop box. Bringing unused and expired medications to a permanent drug drop box protects you, your family, and your community.

Drug disposal box

How to use a permanent drug drop box

Before visiting a permanent drug drop box:

  • Review the medication packaging to see if it offers specific disposal instructions. If no instructions are listed, feel free to dispose of the medication at a permanent drug drop box.
  • Remove all personal information from the medication packaging. If this is not possible, use a dark marker to cover up your personal information.

After you insert your medications in a permanent drug drop box, check to see that your items made it into the box by opening the slot again to ensure it is empty and not blocked.

What to bring

Prescription and over-the-counter medications may be disposed of at Drug Take Back Day collection sites, including:

  • Capsules
  • Creams
  • Inhalers
  • Non-aerosol sprays
  • Ointments
  • Patches
  • Pills
  • Vials

Liquids must be in their original container.

Pet medications are accepted.

Vape pens are accepted with the batteries removed. Other e-cigarette devices are accepted with the batteries removed. These batteries are highly flammable. That's why it is important that the batteries are removed before the pen or device is placed in a collection bin.

The following items are not accepted:

  • Aerosol cans
  • Anything containing blood or a bodily fluid
  • Household hazardous waste (paint, pesticides, oil, gas)
  • Illegal drugs
  • Iodine containing medications
  • Mercury thermometers
  • Personal care products (shampoo, soaps, lotions, sunscreens, etc.)
  • Sharps/syringes
  • Vape pens/e-cigarette devices with a built-in battery that cannot be removed

Find a permanent drug drop box near you

Use the map below to find a permanent drug drop box in your area or view a spreadsheet of all the locations (Excel).

If you have a correction to share regarding the information displayed on the map above, email the Division of Care and Treatment Services.

Promote safe medication disposal/drug take back: Visit the Dose of Reality: Partner Resources section for audio, print, and video advertisements, email messages, flyers, posters, and social media posts.

Participate in a Drug Take Back Day event

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and Wisconsin Department of Justice sponsor drug take back days twice a year. Wisconsin is among the top states in the country for Drug Take Back Day participation.

Last revised September 11, 2023