Drug Take Back Program

  • Did you know that every single day 2,500 American kids try prescription drugs for the first time?
  • Did you know that 70% of pain relief drug abusers use drugs prescribed to their friends or relatives?
  • Did you know that the drinking water of about 46 million people is contaminated with Rx drugs?
Arkansas Take Back is a statewide coalition initiative designed to collect and properly dispose of unwanted or outdated prescription medications to prevent them from falling into the hands of irresponsible people, from polluting our water resources or from posing a health hazard to citizens, livestock and wildlife. Just inside the lobby of the Hot Springs Police Department citizens will find our bright green MedReturn box where they can drop off their expired or unwanted medications. Once or twice annually as needed local agencies also host a public “Take Back” event to help publicize the program and give it higher visibility. At these events officers typically set up a mobile “Take Back” bin at a convenient public location and also answer any questions that you may have. Click here to visit the Arkansas Take Back website to learn more about this great community program.


Who would need to use the MedReturn box?
Virtually everyone will, at some point, find themselves with excess, expired or unwanted drugs that need to be properly and safely disposed of. The reality is that MOST OF US could go to our medicine cabinet right now and find one or more medications that need to be deposited in the MedReturn box.

How do I use the MedReturn box?
You just walk in, open the hopper door on the big green box and drop the medications inside. The items will fall into a basket with a plastic liner. It's as simple as mailing a letter.

How do people end up with excess, expired or unwanted medications?
Some people simply get better and don't need to continue taking their medications. It's not uncommon for these patients to have some leftovers that must be disposed of. Other people, unfortunately, pass away while treating an illness and their family members are often tasked with disposing of their loved one's unused drugs. In addition, doctors sometimes change the medications of patients making their previous prescriptions obsolete. Finally, let's not forget about excess, expired or unwanted medications designed for our pets that may be equally dangerous if disposed of improperly.

When can I use the MedReturn box?
Our lobby is open to the public from 8am-4pm Monday through Friday (except holidays).

What if I have "sharps", liquids in glass containers or a large amount of medications?
For non-medication, medical paraphernalia or an unusually large quantity of medications give us a call at (504) 321-6789 and we'll help you find the best solution to your disposal issues.

I'm physically unable to come to you. Will you come help me dispose of my old medications?
Absolutely! Just pack up the medications in a small box, bag or other container and call our non-emergency number (501) 321-6789 to make arrangements for a police officer to pick up your medications for disposal.

I've only got one or two old pills. Can't I just crush them, flush them or throw them away?
PLEASE DON'T! This is exactly how drinking water gets contaminated. Rainwater that flows through the landfill can wash these dangerous chemicals into our water supply. Medications intentionally introduced into our sewers ends up at a water treatment plant where it may not be filtered out entirely. If everyone in the US threw away just one pill it would be like a dump truck emptying a load of mix-and-match drugs into the environment.

What if I've located drugs of an unknown type, hazardous substances or even illegal drugs like meth or marijuana?
Don't be afraid to call us. For your safety we will come and examine these substances for you. DO NOT HANDLE ILLEGAL OR UNKNOWN DRUGS! Some of them may pose a very serious health risk.

Ok, I'm convinced; now tell me what I should look for!
Generally speaking, if a substance was prescribed by a doctor, dentist, psychiatrist, therapist, surgeon or veterinarian it will need to be properly disposed of. This includes (but may not be limited to):

  • Oral Medications such as tablets, capsules, cough syrups, lozenges and birth control pills.
  • Injectable liquids of any kind, including insulin.
  • Prescription supplements and over-the counter medicines including vitamins, aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, etc.
  • Trans-dermal patches like those that control pain or nicotine cravings.
  • Topical medications like antibiotic ointments and pain relief salves, medicated lotions, creams or other absorbing treatments.
  • Metered dose, propellant or dry powder inhalers like those prescribed for asthma, COPD or bronchitis.
  • Nasal sprays and eye, ear or nose-drops.
  • Aerosol spray medications like antifungals or sunburn treatments.
  • Consumable medications designed to be mixed with food or drink.
  • Other medications intended for use on humans, pets, livestock, fish, birds or reptiles.

While gathering these substances remember to always protect yourself from accidental exposure to medications intended for others. Some medications pose a danger from physical contact alone.  Use rubber gloves if necessary when handling these substances and wash your hands immediately afterward with warm soapy water.