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Pharma-FAQs: Everything You Need to Know About Proper Disposal of Medications, Sharps, and Inhalers

Residents of the Conejo Valley often contact City staff about where to dispose of unwanted, unused, or expired medications. This is also the case for home-generated sharps such as needles, lancets, and auto-injectors. Here we provide the answers! The good news is there are good options in the City.

1. Medications

Where to dispose:

 

All Med Drugs
442 N. Moorpark Rd, Thousand Oaks
(805) 495-2110
Monday – Friday 9AM – 7PM; Sat 9:30AM - 2:30PM

Thousand Oaks Police Station Lobby
2101 E. Olsen Road, Thousand Oaks, 91360 (map)
Hours: Monday - Friday; 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Telephone: (805) 494-8200
Monday – Friday 8AM – 5PM

CVS Westlake Village
2791 Agoura Rd, Westlake Village
(805) 495-4938
Open daily 6AM – 11PM

Vons Pharmacy
2048 E. Avenida de los Arboles, Thousand Oaks
(805) 492-3511

Lynn Oaks Compounding Pharmacy
2220 N. Lynn Rd, #100, Thousand Oaks
(805) 495-1015
Monday – Friday 9AM – 6PM

 Vons Pharmacy 
1790 N. Moorpark Rd, Thousand Oaks
(805) 497-8423

Sav-On Pharmacy
541 S. Reino Rd., Newbury Park
(805) 499-7549

 

 

For a list of locations throughout Ventura County, click here.

Elderly or disabled individuals unable to visit a drop-off location may participate in the City’s free, postage-paid pharmaceutical mail-in program. Email the City or dial (805) 449-SAVE (7283) to request a complimentary envelope.

What to dispose:

  • Prescription medications
  • medication bin
    Over-the-counter medications
  • Medicated ointments and lotions (leave tightly sealed in original containers)
  • Pet medications
  • Schedule II – V controlled substances (oxycodone, codeine, amphetamine, ketamine, alprazolam, clonazepam)

How to dispose:

  1. At home, remove pills and other solid medications from their containers and consolidate them into a clear, plastic, zippered bag
  2. Obscure personal info from containers and place them in your recycling bin. Keep liquids and creams tightly sealed in their original packaging.
  3. Bring the zippered bag of pills/solids and any liquids and creams tightly sealed in their original packaging to a proper drop-off location
  4. Yes, it’s that easy!

Why to dispose properly:

  • Keeps medications out of the hands of children, addicts, and criminals
  • Prevents drinking water and wildlife contamination since flushing medications down the drain sends these substance to the Hill Canyon Treatment Plant, which was not designed to remove pharmaceuticals from the City’s wastewater

Not to be disposed of at medication drop-off locations:

  • Illegal substances
  • Schedule I Controlled Substances (e.g. marijuana, heroin, LSD, etc.)
    • To check if your medication is a controlled substance, click here
  • Medical sharps and needles (hypodermic needles, syringes, auto-injectors e.g. EpiPen®, infusion sets, connection needles/sets, and lancets)
  • Iodine-containing medications
  • Mercury thermometers
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Chemotherapy or cytotoxic medications
  • Compressed cylinders or aerosols (e.g. asthma inhalers – ask your doctor or pharmacist about these)
  • Vitamins and dietary supplements
  • Commercial medical waste (e.g. company representative’s product samples, waste from hospitals, clinics, and doctor/dentist/veterinarian practices)
  • Thermometers

2. Home-Generated Sharps

Where to dispose:sharps map

 City of Thousand Oaks Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Facility

2010 Conejo Center Drive, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
Fridays and Saturdays 9AM – 1PM
Schedule an appointment online or through our free mobile app, RecycleTO

Conejo Family Medical Group
125 W. Thousand Oaks Boulevard, Suite #300, Thousand Oaks, CA 91360
(805) 418-9100
Monday – Friday 8AM – 5PM

Los Robles Hospital
Outpatient Lab
215 West Janss Road
(805) 370-4441
Monday – Friday 7AM – 7PM
Saturday and Sunday  8AM – 12PM

Ventura County Behavioral Health Alcohol and Drug Program
125 W. Thousand Oaks Blvd., #400, Thousand Oaks, CA 91360
(805) 777-3570
Monday – AM - 5:00  Friday 8:00PM

 

What to dispose:

  • Home-generated medical sharps and needles
    • Hypodermic needles
    • Intravenous needles
    • Syringes
    • Auto-injectors e.g. EpiPen®
    • Infusion sets
    • Connection needles/sets
    • Lancets
    • Other devices that are used to penetrate the skin for the delivery of medications derived from a household (includes multifamily residence or household)

 How to dispose:

  1. Obtain an FDA-approved sharps container from any of the sharps drop-off locations listed above (City staff recommend calling ahead before visiting Conejo Valley Medical Group or Los Robles Hospital to ensure container availability)
  2. Fill the approved container as needed. When full, seal the container properly per the manufacturer’s guidelines.
  3. Transport sealed container to an approved collection facility and exchange for a new, empty container (only if needed)
  4. Yes, it’s that easy!

 Why to dispose properly:

  • It’s the law! It is illegal to knowingly toss sharps in trash, recycling, or green waste containers.
  • It protects people from needle sticks, particularly janitorial, pest control, groundskeeping, and waste management workers, as well as children and pets. It also prevents people and businesses from enduring the various hardships that may result.

What’s not accepted at sharps drop-off locations:

  • Commercially-generated medical sharps and needles

FAQs About Medications and Sharps

  1. What is a controlled substance?

    In general, controlled substances are drugs or chemicals regulated by the federal government because of their known detrimental effects on people’s health and well-being. Controlled substances are broken down into five categories, or schedules, based on medical use, relative abuse potential, and likelihood of a user developing dependence when abused. It is a common misconception that all controlled substances are illegal. Not all are, but because many Schedule I drugs are illegal most drug take-back programs don’t accept them.

  2. What if my auto-injector has drug product in it?

    Place it in an approved sharps container with the rest of your home-generated medical sharps.

  3. Why can’t inhalers go in the medication disposal bins?

    There are two main reasons. First, the inhaler may still contain medication. Second, inhaler cartridges are considered compressed gas cylinders, which are hazardous wastes. This is why special programs exist for these products, so consult your physician, pharmacist, or a local waste facility on proper disposal if the instructions are not provided by the manufacturer.

  4. How do I transport these items?

    The keys are to use proper containment and ensure stability. Check out this blog article for guidelines on transporting medications and sharps safely.

  5. May I transport prescription medications not prescribed to me?

    No, it is illegal to possess prescription drugs in California without a valid prescription for them or authority to transport them.

  6. Does the City’s HHW Facility accept medications?
    No, the City does not accept medications for disposal, only home-generated sharps.
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