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Medication and Sharps Disposal
- New statewide program for free medication, sharps, and inhaler disposal
- Unwanted Medication Drop-Off Locations
- Pharmaceutical Mail-In Program for Disabled and Homebound Individuals
- Why is it important to dispose of medications properly?
- Other Ventura County Pharmaceutical Disposal Programs
- Needle and Sharps Disposal and Drop-Off Locations
New Statewide Program for Free Medication, Sharps, and Inhaler Disposal
Thanks to the passing of Senate Bill 212, California residents can now safely and confidentially dispose of expired, unused or unwanted medications, sharps, and inhalers for free at approved State-sponsored drop-off locations or by requesting mail-back kits. Click here to get started. This new program will complement the programs in the City and staff will be updating this webpage frequently as the program continues to roll out across the State.
Free Medication Disposal Bins in the Conejo Valley
City of Thousand Oaks residents can safely and confidentially dispose of expired, unused or unwanted pharmaceuticals at several locations in the City. The medication bins are for home-generated medications only. No business, hospital or clinic waste is accepted.
Use the map below to find a medication drop-off location near you:
|All Med Drugs
442 N. Moorpark Rd, Thousand Oaks
Weekdays 9AM – 7PM
Saturday 9:30AM – 2:30PM
Thousand Oaks Police Station Lobby
CVS Westlake Village
2048 E. Avenida de los Arboles, Thousand Oaks
Weekdays 8AM – 8PM
Weekends 9AM – 5PM
Lynn Oaks Compounding Pharmacy
1790 N. Moorpark Rd, Thousand Oaks
Weekdays 8AM – 8PM
Weekends 9AM – 5PM
Albertsons Sav-On Pharmacy
What to Dispose:
- Prescription medications
- Over-the-counter medications
- Medicated ointments and lotions (leave tightly sealed in original containers)
- Pet medications
- Schedule II – V controlled substances (e.g. oxycodone, codeine, amphetamine, ketamine, alprazolam, clonazepam)
How to Dispose:
- At home, remove pills and other solid medications from their containers and consolidate them into a clear, plastic, zippered bag
- Drop off the zippered bag of pills/solids and any liquids and creams tightly sealed in their original packaging at a proper drop-off location
- Obscure personal info from containers and place them in your recycling bin.
- Yes, it’s that easy!
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
- Thermometers (mercury & non-mercury types)
- Chemotherapy or cytotoxic medications
- Compressed gas cylinders or aerosols (e.g. asthma inhalers – If empty, put in trash. If not empty: bring to Lynn Oaks Compounding Pharmacy listed above)
- Vitamins and dietary supplements
- Commercial medical waste (e.g. company representative’s product samples, waste from hospitals, clinics, and doctor/dentist/veterinarian practices)
Pharmaceutical Mail-In Program for Homebound or Disabled Individuals
For residents who are physically unable to visit a medication drop-off location, the City's Public Works Department will provide complimentary mail-in envelopes for medication disposal. To request an envelope, please call (805) 449-SAVE (7283) or send a request by email with your name, mailing address, and phone number.
Why is it Important to Dispose of Medications Properly?
- Environmental Concerns - Prevents drinking water and wildlife contamination since flushing medications down the drain or by flushing sends these substance to the Hill Canyon Treatment Plant, which was not designed to remove pharmaceuticals from the City’s wastewater. Studies from the U.S. Geological Survey indicates that 80% of the Nation’s waterways contain trace amounts of pharmaceutical waste. While scientists are just now studying the potential effects on humans, there have been demonstrated negative effects on certain wildlife, such as fish. In addition, the City's Sustainability team recommends that you purchase only the amount of over-the-counter medication needed or projected to be used through the expiration on the package, rather than purchasing a large, economy-sized bottle or container that will not be completely used and the remainder of the medication will need to be disposed of correctly.
- Drug Use Concerns - Proper disposal keeps medications out of the hands of children, people suffering from addiction, and others. Storing unused or outdated prescriptions creates an opportunity for improper use. Estimates from law enforcement personnel state that approximately 40% of the drugs used by kids to get high come from the home of a friend or relative and a report from the Office of National Drug Control Policy states that every day, 2,500 youth (12-17) get high from prescription pain relievers for the very first time. Nearly half say they get the medications from friends and relatives for free, often by taking them from the medicine cabinet or by attending "pharming parties" where teens barter legal drugs and get high.
Other Pharmaceutical Disposal Programs
There are a number of drop-off locations countywide for unwanted or expired medication in Ventura County.
Needle and Sharps Disposal
What to Dispose:
- Home-generated medical sharps and needles
- Hypodermic needles
- Intravenous needles
- Auto-injectors e.g. EpiPen®
- Infusion sets
- Connection needles/sets
- 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 of your Sharps:
- Purchase an FDA-approved sharps container or pick up a free container from the Public Works Department at City Hall* or one of the sharps drop-off locations listed below (City staff recommend calling ahead before visiting Conejo Valley Medical Group or Los Robles Hospital to ensure container availability)
- Drop off sharps container at one of the approved locations listed below.
- Do not attempt to remove, bend, break, or recap the needle.
- For safety reasons, sharps will NOT be accepted in: liquid detergent bottles, bleach bottles, coffee cans, glass containers, milk jugs, soda bottles, etc.
*Do not bring used sharps to City Hall.
What’s Not Accepted at Sharps Drop-off Locations:
- Commercially-generated medical sharps and needles
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.
Sharps Collection FacilitiesCity of Thousand Oaks Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Facility
2010 Conejo Center Drive, Thousand Oaks
Fridays and Saturdays 9AM – 1PM, excluding major holiday weekends
Schedule an appointment online or call (800) 356-8570 (free sharps containers available – just ask!)
Conejo Family Medical Group
125 W. Thousand Oaks Boulevard, Suite #300, Thousand Oaks
Weekdays 8AM – 5PM
Los Robles Hospital
215 West Janss Road, Thousand Oaks
Weekdays 7AM – 7PM
Weekends 8AM – 12PM
Ventura County Behavioral Health Alcohol and Drug Program
125 W. Thousand Oaks Blvd., #400, Thousand Oaks
Weekdays 8AM - 5PM
Other Medical Devices
Battery-containing home medical devices such as Auvi-Q® auto-injectors, digital thermometers and glucometers should be brought to the City's Household Hazardous Waste Facility for proper electronics disposal.
FAQs About Medications and Sharps
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. If disposal instructions are not provided by the manufacturer, here are the disposal procedures: If canister is empty, place in trash. If not empty: bring to Lynn Oaks Compounding Pharmacy (see above).
- 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.
- 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.
- Does the City’s HHW Facility accept medications?
No, the HHW Facility does not accept medications for disposal, only home-generated sharps.