• Featured News

    Save lives this Take Back Day; safely dispose of unused medications

white pills spill out from a yellow prescription bottle

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Dispose of unneeded medications safely during National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, April 22.

Mayo Clinic, in collaboration with the Olmsted County Sheriff's Office, Olmsted Medical Center, Zumbro Valley Medical Society and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), will host a community drop-off event to collect unused or expired medications.

"The Olmsted County Sheriff's Office and Violent Crimes Enforcement Team (VCET) are proud to team up with Mayo Clinic and other community partners to participate in the National Drug Take Back program," says Capt. Tim Parkin of the Olmsted County Sheriff's Office.

Anyone can anonymously drop off medications in Rochester on April 22 from 9 a.m.–1 p.m., at Mayo's Gonda Building, at the west entrance drop-off circle located at Third Ave. Southwest.

"The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is a fantastic opportunity to learn more about drug misuse and abuse," says Benjamin Lai, M.B., B.Ch., B.A.O., a family medicine physician and chair of Mayo Clinic's Opioid Stewardship Program. "Mayo Clinic is proud to partner with our community to host this event."

DEA Drug Take Back Day events offer a safe, free and convenient means to dispose of unnecessary medicines stored in the home that can be susceptible to abuse and theft. The events also provide an opportunity to educate the public about related community health issues.

Medications, including controlled substances such as opioids, stimulants, depressants, hallucinogens and anabolic steroids, will be collected.

"Many of our communities continue to be plagued by high rates of drug overdoses. One step we can all take to address this problem head-on is to reduce the amount of unused medications we have in our communities, especially high-risk medications such as opioids," says Dr. Lai.

Medications accepted for safe disposal at take back locations include:

  • Prescription drugs
  • Over-the-counter medications
  • Ointments, patches, creams, inhalers and vials
  • Pet medications
  • Nonaerosol medications

Liquid medications must be in the original container. Vape pens and other e-cigarette devices are accepted, with the batteries removed. 

Unused prescription drugs thrown in the trash can be retrieved and abused, or illegally sold. Medications that are improperly disposed by flushing them down the toilet pose a potential health and environmental hazard. Proper disposal of unused drugs saves lives and protects the environment.

Drop-off events also are taking place Saturday in other communities in Minnesota, Wisconsin and across the nation. If you live outside Rochester, you can find a drop-off location near you by visiting the DEA National Prescription Drug Take Back Day website.

Community members unable to attend the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day event can dispose of medications safely anytime in the prescription drug collection box at the Olmsted County Government Center. The box is in the vestibule of the Adult Detention Center and is accessible around the clock every day of the year.

Alert to journalists: Journalists interested in covering the event are invited to arrive between 10–11 a.m. Mayo Clinic Ambulance paramedics who have experience treating drug overdose patients will be available for interviews. Also available for interviews will be representatives from Mayo Clinic, the Olmsted County Sheriff's Office, Olmsted Medical Center and Zumbro Valley Medical Society.


About Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to innovation in clinical practice, education and research, and providing compassion, expertise and answers to everyone who needs healing. Visit the Mayo Clinic News Network for additional Mayo Clinic news.

Media contact: