Drug/Sharps Disposal

Improper disposal of unused or expired drugs and hypodermic needles (sharps) can pose a risk to family members, solid waste professionals, and the environment. Needle-stick injuries can cause infection and spread disease, while accidental ingestion of drugs can result in serious injury and death. In addition, medicine and syringes may pollute water resources and impact wildlife if flushed down the drain. Protect the environment and limit the risk of ingestion and needle-sticks by taking advantage of these disposal options.

Drug Disposal

Drug Collection Sites

The best way to dispose of most types of unused or expired medicine is to bring it to an authorized drug disposal location immediately.  

  • Year-Round Locations – Some pharmacies offer year-round take back of pharmaceutical drugs. As of 4/15/22 here are local options:.    

    HANNAFORD BROS. CO., LLC

    95 SPRING ST

    AUBURN, ME 04210

    BEDARD PHARMACY, INC.

    359 MINOT AVE STE B

    AUBURN, ME 04210

    CVS STATE CAPITAL, L.L.C.

    8 UNION STREET

    AUBURN, ME 04210

    SHAWS SUPERMARKETS INC

    27 EAST AVE

    LEWISTON, ME 04240

    BEDARD PHARMACY INC

    61 COLLEGE ST

    LEWISTON, ME 04240

    SHAWS SUPERMARKETS INC

    600 CENTER ST

    AUBURN, ME 04210

    CVS STATE CAPITAL, L.L.C.

    446 SABATTUS ST.

    LEWISTON, ME 04240

    HANNAFORD BROS. CO., LLC

    692 SABATTUS ST

    LEWISTON, ME 04240

    HANNAFORD BROS. CO., LLC

    1603 MAIN ST

    OXFORD, ME 04270

    WALGREEN EASTERN CO., INC.

    53 PARIS ST

    NORWAY, ME 04268

    SPRUCE MOUNTAIN PHARMACY INC.

    148 MAIN ST

    JAY, ME 04239

                   Additional year-round locations near you can be found here including most area police stations.  

  • Community Drug Take Back Events– Typically in April and October each year select schools, pharmacies, and other municipal facilities will host free events.  Here are the events happening in the region on October 29, 2022 from 10 am - 2 pm:                                                             
    Poland Town Office
    1231 Maine StreetPoland
    Turner Fire & Rescue Station19 General Turner Hill RoadTurner
    Auburn Police Department60 Court StreetAuburn
    Bedard Pharmacy359 Minot AvenueAuburn
    Lewiston High School156 East AvenueLewiston
    Lisbon Police Department300 Lisbon StreetLisbon
    Livermore Falls Police Department2 Main StreetLivermore Falls
    Mechanic Falls Police Department108 Lewiston StreetMechanic Falls
    Sabattus Police Department190 Middle RoadSabattus
    Mexico Police Department134 Main StreetMexico

               For additional locations please visit the DEA’s website

What is typically accepted at collection sites:

  • Prescriptions
  • Over-the-counter 
  • Veterinary medications 
  • Vitamins 
  • Homeopathic treatment 

What is NOT accepted:  

  • Needles/Syringes 
  • Aerosols (inhalers) 
  • Items containing mercury 
  • Liquids 

Home Disposal

If you cannot get to a drug take back location promptly, follow these steps to ensure safe disposal. 

  • Very few medications are on the FDA flush list. Unless noted on the container, do NOT flush medications down the drain. 
  • Mix prescription drugs uncrushed with an undesirable substance, like coffee grounds or kitty litter in a sealed plastic bag and dispose of in the trash.  
  • Remove any personal information from prescription containers before disposing.

Sharps Disposal

Home Disposal

If sharps are used in the home, here are several no cost or low-cost disposal solutions to consider.

  •  Needle Clipping Devices – Small handheld devices clip off and store up to 1,500 syringe needles rendering the syringe safe for regular disposal with household trash. Once the device is full it can also be safely thrown out without any additional precautions.

    NEW: Free needle-clipping devices are being offered courtesy of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, Becton, Dickinson and Company, and Rite Aid Pharmacy. Maine Residents can request a free needle-clipping device here.

  • Mail-Back Disposal Options – Many pharmaceutical companies offer pre-paid mail-back programs free of charge to patients using their injectables. Check here to see if your medicine is covered. Local pharmacies may also carry pre-paid mail-back sharps containers or envelopes. 
  • Home Sharps Disposal Containers - Rigid home sharps containers with locking lids may be placed in your household trash. Local pharmacies may carry these containers for sale, while some manufacturers may provide them for free through patient support programs. 
  • DIY Disposal Containers - As a last resort, you can also make one using rigid, puncture-resistant containers that you can’t see through (i.e. bleach or detergent bottles, coffee cans, etc.). Be sure to label the containers “Do Not Recycle” and reinforce containers with heavy-duty tape before disposing of in household trash, not recycling. 

Sharps Collection Sites 

When you are away from home here are some public options. 

Commercial Solutions

  • For small to medium sized medical waste generators such as medical facilities, educational institutions, funeral homes, and long-term care facilities there are number of full-service or self-service sharps management options.  

 Ways to Reduce Sharp Waste

How Can I Find More Information about Disposing of Sharps?