Medication Safety and Disposal

When you properly store and get rid of unused medications,

Don’t flush unused or expired medications and don’t throw them in the trash. Safely dispose of them at one of Onslow County’s medication disposal drop boxes at no charge.

Before disposing of prescription medicines, be sure to remove all personal information on pill bottle labels and medicine packaging. All of your medicines dropped off at the take back locations will be destroyed.

Med-Drop boxes do not accept needles/sharps.

Med-Drop Locations

  • Jacksonville Department of Public Safety                                                                                                          
    • 200 Marine Blvd., Jacksonville                                                                                                                
    • Hours: Mon-Fri 7am- 10pm, Sat-Sun 8am-6pm
  • Onslow County Sheriff's Department                                                                                                                  
    •  717 Court Street, Jacksonville                                                                                                             
    •  Hours: Mon-Fri 8am-5pm
  • Walgreens**                                                                                                                                                        
    • 359 Western Blvd., Jacksonville                                                                                                              
    • Hours: 7am- 12am 
  • Walgreens**                                                                                                                                                          
    • 1600 Gum Branch Rd., Jacksonville                                                                                                              
    • Hours: 8am- 8pm, 
  • Swansboro Police Department                                                                                                                          
    • 609 W. Corbett Ave., Swansboro                                                                                                           
    • Hours: 24/7
  • Richlands Town Hall                                                                                                                                            
    • 302 S. Wilmington St., Richlands                                                                                                           
    • Hours: Mon-Fri 8am- 5pm
  • Holly Ridge Police Department                                                                                                                          
    • 313 Sound Rd., Holly Ridge                                                                                                                   
    • Hours: Mon-Fri 8am- 5pm
  • Naval Medical Center Main Pharmacy**
    • 100 Brewster Blvd., Camp Lejeune
    • Hours: 24/7 
  • Main Exchange Pharmacy**
    • 1231 Birch St., Camp Lejeune
    • Hours: Mon-Sat 8am-8pm, Sun 9am-6pm 

** = accepts liquids

If you would like Project Med-Drop tags or have questions, please contact Community Relations at or at (910)-989-3963.

Tips for Disposing of Medication

Removing old medicine from a home is important to maintaining a healthy and safe household. It prevents family members from taking outdated medicine, removes the risk of self-prescribing, and eliminates the risk of someone abusing or accidentally ingesting the medications, including children. 

  1. Check the dates. Examine everything in your medicine cabinet, including ointments, supplements, and vitamins. Discard any item that is beyond the expiration date. Many medications lose their effectiveness after the expiration date. Some may even be toxic.
  2. For prescriptions, follow the one-year cut-off rule. Discard any prescription medications that are more than one year old.
  3. Ditch any items that have changed color, smell, or taste. This includes any colors that have faded, because they may have been exposed to too much light.
  4. Discard unmarked containers. If something is no longer in its original container and cannot be identified, get rid of it. In the future, try to always keep medications in their original containers so that you can easily recognize every medication. This includes ointments since these can easily be mistaken for creams.
  5. Dispose of unused or expired medication at a drop-box. Because of the potential harm to the environment, it is not recommended to simply throw out medication or flush them down the toilet. Safely dispose of them at an approved drop-box site listed above.

Safe Medication Storage

About 60,000 young children end up in emergency rooms each year because they got into medicines while an adult wasn’t looking. These emergency visits can be prevented by always putting every medicine up and away and out of children’s reach and sight every time you use it.

Families take medications and vitamins to feel well and to stay well. However, any medication, including those you buy without a prescription, can cause harm if taken in the wrong way or by the wrong person. Practicing safe medication storage, while at home and when on-the-go, can help keep children safe.

Put medicines up and away and out of children’s reach and sight.childmedicationsafety

  • Children are curious and put all sorts of things in their mouths. Even if you turn your back for less than a minute, they can quickly get into things that could hurt them.
  • Pick a storage place in your home that children cannot reach or see. Different families will have different places. Walk around your house and decide on the safest place to keep your medicines and vitamins.

Put medicines away every time.

  • This includes medicines and vitamins you use every day. Never leave medicine out on a kitchen counter or at a sick child’s bedside, even if you have to give it again in a few hours

Make sure the safety cap is locked.

  • Always relock the cap on a medicine bottle. If the bottle has a locking cap that turns, twist it until you hear the click or cannot twist anymore.
  • Remember, even though many medicines have safety caps, children may be able to open them. Every medicine must be stored up and away and out of children’s reach and sight.

Teach your children about medicine safety.

  • Teach your children what medicine is and why you or a trusted adult must be the one to give it to them.
  • Never tell children medicine is candy to get them to take it, even if they don’t like to take their medicine.

Tell your guests about medicine safety.

  • Ask family members, house guests, and other visitors to keep purses, bags, or coats that have medicine in them up and away and out of sight when they are in your home.

Be prepared in case of an emergency.

  • Call your poison control center at 800.222.1222 right away if you think your child might have gotten into a medicine or vitamin, even if you are not completely sure.
  • Program the Poison Help number into your home and cell phones so you will have it when you need it.

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