County of Marin - News Releases - Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

For Immediate Release
October 23, 2017

Be Rx Safe! Rid Your Home of Unneeded Meds

National Drug Take-Back Day is Saturday, October 28

San Rafael, CA – What do you collect? Stamps, commemorative dinner plates, Cabbage Patch dolls, comic books, vintage soda bottles? Some people collect, and sometimes steal, prescription medications. They either use them or distribute them for recreational purposes, occasionally leading to fatal consequences.

Dr. Matt Willis, the County's Public Health Officer, is shown holding a box of prescription drugs during a take-back day a few years ago.Dr. Matthew Willis (center), the County's Public Health Officer, said disposing of unused medications is a strong deterrent to drug misuse.
It’s a real problem in Marin County and all over the country. According to the Marin County Department of Health and Human Services, one of four Marin adults needs help for substance abuse, alcohol abuse or mental health problems.

To address the widespread availability of prescription drugs, agencies across Marin County will participate in the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday, October 28, and encourage residents to rid their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted medications. 

Medicines that languish in homes, cars, suitcases and purses are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends.

“All too often we’re seeing kids in our emergency rooms with overdoses on medicines they weren’t prescribed,” said Dr. Matthew Willis, Marin County Public Health Officer. “One in 10 eleventh-graders in Marin have said they’ve used prescription painkillers recreationally, most coming from our own medicine cabinets. On this take-back day, we’re urging residents to prevent this from happening by purging their home of old or unneeded meds.”

At least eight locations in Marin County are serving as collection sites. The Marin County Sheriff’s Office is accepting pills for disposal at the Marin County Public Safety Building at 850 Drake Avenue in Marin City, and the Marinwood Fire Station at 777 Miller Creek Road in San Rafael. Police stations in San Rafael, Fairfax, Novato, Larkspur, San Anselmo, and Kentfield will accept pills as well. The addresses are on the DEA website.

In Marin, a wide range of experts, community advocates, agencies, parents, pharmacists and health care partners are collaborating to tackle the epidemic of prescription drug misuse. RxSafe Marin is a grassroots community initiative to address the problem, fueled by the fact that drug overdose deaths and treatment admissions for prescription drug addiction continue to escalate in Marin.

In April 2017 at the most recent countywide take-back collection, 548 pounds of unneeded meds were gathered at Marin locations. That pushed Marin’s total to more than 3,500 pounds since 2014. Don’t forget: Many law enforcement stations accept dropped-off meds during regular office hours, so call the non-emergency phone number for the local police station to find out if a receptacle is available in case the October 28 event isn’t convenient.

When dropping off meds, remember that sites cannot accept liquids or needles. Take pills out of containers and put them in small paper bags for safe disposal at the locations between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The service is free and anonymous – no questions asked.

Get involved in the RxSafe Marin effort by check or emailing For a list of safe disposal sites where you can drop off unneeded medications all year-round visit our Marin County website.


Dr. Matthew Willis
Public Health Officer
Health and Human Services

3240 Kerner Blvd.
San Rafael, CA 94901
(415) 473-4163
Email: Dr. Matthew Willis
Marin HHS website