Knox County Tennessee

Unwanted Medication Collection

Unused Medication Collection Program

The proper disposal of unused medications is a problem. Medications flushed down the drain are a problem for the water treatment system and the environment. Unused medications sitting in medicine cabinets are a community safety problem because too often medications end up in the hands of people that abuse substances.

In order to address the problems of unused medication Knox County Solid Waste, in conjunction with The City of Knoxville Police Department,  the City of Knoxville Solid Waste Offices, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, The Metropolitan Drug Coalition, UT Academy of Student Pharmacists, and the Knox County Health Department formed a Regional Medication Collection Task Force in 2008. The task force created a collection program and now supports and encourages proper disposal of medication in the community. In the beginning the main focus of the program was on holding in-person medication collection take back events held quarterly but now events are held less frequently because there are several permanent collection boxes. There are still some events organized in conjunction with the Drug Enforcement Agency but the dates and times vary.

Collection Box: City of Knoxville Police Station

  • (24 hours a day, 7 days per week):
  • Station KPD Safety Building
  • 800 Howard Baker Jr. Ave, Knoxville, TN 37915
  • Residents may use this drop-off box, located just inside the Safety Building’s lobby, to dispose of expired or unwanted medications at any time, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. The KPD maintains a secure collection container at this location on a permanent basis.

Collection Boxes: Some Participating Pharmacies

There are several permanent collection boxes at participating Walgreens and Belew Drugstores but not all retail locations participate. Other pharmacies may participate that are not listed here. You should definitely call any pharmacy you want to bring unwanted medications to first to find our if they participate in a medication collection program.

Sharps: Not Unwanted Medication, Safe Disposal in Trash

Sharps are not unwanted medicine and should be disposed of through your regular trash providing you follow some safety precautions (see link to Safe Sharp Disposal Flyer below). Sharps is a medical term for devices with sharp points or edges that can puncture or cut skin. They may be used at home, at work, and while traveling to manage the medical conditions of people or their pets, including allergies, arthritis, cancer, diabetes, hepatitis, HIV/AIDS, infertility, migraines, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, blood clotting disorders, and psoriasis. Never place loose needles and other sharps (those that are not placed in a sharps disposal container) in the household or public trash cans or recycling bins, and never flush them down the toilet. This puts trash and sewage workers, janitors, housekeepers, household members, and children at risk of being harmed. Pet owners who use needles to give medicine to their pets should follow the same sharps disposal guidelines used for humans.

Contact Us For More Information:

For more specific information about upcoming medication collection events or help finding a collection box contact us using our contact form on our website by email (preferred) or by phone and one of our representatives will provide more information about upcoming take back events or collection locations.

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Solid Waste Administrative Office

Phone: 865-215-JUNK (5865)
Fax: 865-215-5820

Solid Waste administrative Office Hours:
Monday - Friday
8:00 am - 4:30 pm
Department Email