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

For Immediate Release
October 11, 2019

Purge that Medicine Cabinet for Safety’s Sake

Prevent misuse and abuse on Prescription Drug Take-Back Day October 26

San Rafael, CA – Look to the left and to the right anywhere in Marin County, and a quarter of the people seen need help for substance abuse, alcohol abuse or mental health problems. Medications are liberally prescribed to treat those and other health issues, leading to an abundance of pills.

Two hands are shown depositing a plastic bag of pills into a receptacle.Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is Saturday, October 26.
The next National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is Saturday, October 26, coordinated by U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and endorsed heartily by the Marin County Department of Health and Human Services.

To address the widespread availability of prescription drugs, agencies across Marin will participate in the collection of potentially harmful expired, unused, and unwanted medications at one of the following sites: San Rafael Police Department, Central Marin Police Authority – Larkspur and San Anselmo locations, Fairfax Police Department, and the Novato Police Department.

Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Studies show that most of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends.

“Every year we’re seeing more medications disposed of safely in Marin, and at the same time we’re seeing fewer opioids being prescribed,” said Marin County Public Health Officer Dr. Matt Willis. “With less coming in to the community and more being removed, there are a lot less available for misuse and abuse. Our community has really responded to this issue.”

More than 9,000 pounds of unneeded drugs were collected in Marin last year, up from 8,300 pounds in 2017. Every year since 2015, Marin is seeing more drugs being returned. Statewide, 68,308 pounds were dropped off at 304 collection sites in April 2019. Since fall 2010, more than 11 million pounds of drugs have been disposed of nationally through the take-back programs.

In Marin, RxSafe Marin is a grassroots community initiative collaborating to tackle what’s described as an epidemic of opioid related overdoses. Drug overdose remains the leading cause of accidental death in Marin County. RxSafe Marin is working to limit the burden of prescription opioids by promoting safe prescribing by clinicians and increasing opportunities for safe disposal of unused and unwanted medications.

On Take-Back Day, Marin locations accept drop-offs between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The service is free and anonymous – no questions asked. Note that drop-off locations cannot accept liquid meds or needles. To find a year-round drop-off location, visit


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