All prescription and non-prescription medications will be accepted, but not needles

Update, 11.09.11: The office of Berkeley councilmember Max Anderson has issued a useful list of places where one can safely deposit unwanted medications in Alameda County. There follows a list of those closest to Berkeley:

• United Pharmacy –2929 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley, 510-843-3201

• City of Berkeley Transfer Station — 1201 Second Street at Gilman, Berkeley, 510-981-7270

• Alta Bates Milvia Outpatient Pharmacy — 2500 Milvia Street, Suite 130, Berkeley, 510-204-6550

• Eden Medical Center — 20103 Lake Chabot Road, Castro Valley, 510-537-1234

• Alameda County Household Hazardous Waste Drop-off Site – 2100 East 7th Street, Oakland, 800-606-6606

• Medicine Drop-off @ Elihu M. Harris State Building — 1515 Clay St, Oakland, 510-287-1651

• Alta Bates Peralta Outpatient Pharmacy — 3300 Webster Street, Ground Floor, Oakland, 510-869-8835

If you have controlled substances such as Vicodin, valium, codeine, etc. to dispose of, bring medication to the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office.

How to Return Unwanted Medicines:

1. Collect leftover or expired medicines in your home.*
2. Dump pills into a sealable plastic zipper bag. Keep liquids in their original leakproof containers and remove labels.
3. Bring medications to a take-back site during business hours and drop medications in the secure disposal bin.

For additional locations visit: For more information contact: 1-888-BayWise


Berkeley residents are being encouraged to turn in their unused or expired prescription and non-prescription medications on Saturday October 29th, as a way of preventing accidental poisoning, overdose, and abuse in the community.

The collection will be held at the South Berkeley Senior Center, 2939 Ellis Street, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

The majority of teenagers abusing prescription drugs get them from family and friends, with the home medicine cabinet as a primary source, according to a release issued by the BPD. The non-medical use of prescription drugs is among the most common forms of drug abuse in the United States.

The Berkeley event is part of the National Take Back Initiative, a Drug Enforcement Administration program, and is being organized here by the City of Berkeley Health Department and the Berkeley Police Department.

Disposing of unwanted medications is not always easy: flushing them down the toilet is not advised as it can lead to trace amounts of drugs getting into the city’s water supply. And not all pharmacies can accept old medications.

All drop-offs on Saturday will remain anonymous — no identification is required and no records are kept. Participants are encouraged to remove any identifying labels on the medications. Residents can keep or dispose of the containers. All controlled, non-controlled, and over-the-counter substances will be accepted, but not needles.

Because pharmacies generally cannot accept them, residents are particularly encouraged to dispose of controlled substances such as Vicodin, Percocet, OxyContin, Codeine, Adderall, Ritalin, and Dexedrine, as well as any other stimulants, sedatives, and tranquilizers or prescription medications.

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Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...