Opioid abuse continues to be a prevalent problem in Chandler, throughout Maricopa County, and across the state of Arizona.
This epidemic has been fueled in large part by dramatically rising rates of prescription drug abuse, as many commonly abused prescription medications contain opioids.
Individuals who abuse and become addicted to opioid-based prescription medications acquire these substances through a variety of illicit means, including borrowing or stealing drugs that have been prescribed to someone else.
One way that all residents in Chandler and throughout Maricopa County can participate in the effort to prevent prescription drug abuse is to ensure that any medications that are prescribed to them are stored securely and disposed of properly.
If you have prescription medications that are out of date, or that you are no longer taking, do not simply throw them into the trash. Instead, please review the information below to ensure that your medications are disposed of in a manner that will prevent anyone else from acquiring them for illicit purposes.
Safe Drop-off Locations
One simple and convenient way to safely dispose of prescription drugs in Maricopa County is to bring them to a safe drop-off location.
In Chandler, Arizona, the Chandler Police Department has placed bright green MedReturn boxes in the lobby of each of its three stations:
- Main Station (250 E. Chicago St.): Open 24/7
- Desert Breeze Substation (251 North Desert Breeze Blvd.): Open Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- Chandler Heights Substation (4040 E. Chandler Heights Rd.): Open Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The MedReturn boxes in the Chandler Police Department stations allow individuals to anonymously and safely dispose of a variety of medications, including prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, patches, prescription ointments, vitamins, and medications for pets.
A similar service is also available at several Chandler-area Walgreens stores. In February 2016, Walgreens announced an initiative to install safe prescription medication disposal kiosks in 500 locations throughout the United States.
As of November 2016, 18 Walgreens pharmacies in Arizona, including several in Maricopa County, now feature these kiosks. The company’s website features a searchable map of drug disposal kiosk locations in Maricopa County, across Arizona, and throughout the rest of the United States.
Walgreen’s safe prescription medication disposal kiosks are extremely simple to use. The devices, which are located in the pharmacy section of the store, look similar to oversized silver mailboxes. They are clearly labeled and have a large slot at the top. To dispose of a prescription medication or an over-the-counter medication, simply drop the drugs into the slot.
Please note that the Walgreens kiosks are only for prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications. Syringes, illegal drugs, inhalants, and other substances or paraphernalia are prohibited from being placed in these kiosks.
Safe Disposal at Home
If you cannot get to a Chandler Police Department station or one of the Walgreens in Maricopa County that has a safe prescription medication disposal kiosk, there are steps that you can take to safely dispose of prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, and similar substances at home.
The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality has provided the following instructions for the safe disposal of prescription medications:
- Remove the prescription drugs from their original containers. This will make it more difficult for individuals who wish to steal drugs from being able to identify them. It will also help to protect your identity and privacy.
- Mix the prescription medications with an undesirable substance. Used coffee grounds and used cat litter are perfect for this purpose.
- Put the mixture of undesirable substance and medications into an unlabeled empty can or sealable plastic bag. This will hide the medications from those who may want to steal them and will prevent their unintentional ingestion by children or animals.
- Place this sealed mixture into the trash.
Do not flush any medications down the toilet unless the information that accompanies the drugs specifically states that it is safe to do so.
Safe disposal of prescription medications can play a significant role in protecting the community and helping to reverse the state’s rising rates of opioid abuse.