Safe Medication Disposal Initiative

Alamedans now have a safe and local place to dispose of expired and unused medication. The City’s first public pharmaceutical disposal bin is available in the front lobby of the Alameda Police Department (APD) at 1555 Oak Street. Residents can safely dispose of their unused medication, seven days a week, between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.  “We want to give our residents a safe and secure location where they can properly dispose of their prescription medications. Not only are there environmental concerns, we also don’t want dangerous prescription drugs ending up in the hands of our children,” said Chief of Police Paul Rolleri.


This bin is possible through a partnership with Alameda County Environmental Health and City of Alameda.  The purpose of The Alameda County Medication Disposal Initiative is to develop a safe and convenient medication disposal program that addresses the unintended stockpiling of medications. Unused and expired medications are becoming an incredible concern for patient safety and public health throughout the United States.  For example, poisoning has become the fastest rising cause of accidental death among seniors, particularly from overdoses of prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications. Accidental poisoning from ingestion of drugs among children and pets often occurs in homes where medicine is easily accessible. About 40% of poisoning among children occurs in grandparents’ homes.


To protect privacy and preserve space, unused pills and capsules should be placed in a sealable plastic bag and the empty bottles recycled at home. The following items can be disposed of in the bin: prescription drugs (excluding controlled substances), over-the-counter medications, liquids in their original containers, medicated ointments and lotions and medications for pets. Liquids should remain in their original leak-proof containers with labels removed or marked out. No vitamins, needles, batteries, thermometers, or illegal drugs are to be placed in the bin (vitamins may be disposed of safely in the trash). Controlled substances can only be disposed of at the Sheriff’s office. These bins are for household medications – they are not for disposal from businesses such as clinics, doctor, dentist’s offices or veterinarians.