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

For Immediate Release
September 18, 2015

Purge Your Medicine Cabinet September 26

Prevent misuse and abuse on Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

San Rafael, CA – It’s an eye-opening statistic: One of four Marin County adults needs help for substance abuse, alcohol abuse or mental health problems.

Dr. Matt Willis speaks at an RxSafe Marin conference in 2014.To address the widespread availability of prescription drugs, agencies across Marin County will participate in the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Take-Back Day on September 26, encouraging residents to rid their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. 

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

“Most people don’t think of their medicine cabinets as potential sources of harm,” said Dr. Matthew Willis, Marin County Public Health Officer. “This take-back day is the perfect time to purge your home of unwanted medications and resolve to keep it that way.”

The Marin County Sheriff’s Office and Marinwood Fire Department will accept pills for disposal at Marinwood Fire Department at 777 Miller Creek Road in San Rafael. Police stations in Fairfax, Mill Valley, Novato, San Rafael, Larkspur, San Anselmo, Tiburon and at the College of Marin will accept pills as well.

In Marin, a wide range of experts, community advocates, agencies, parents, pharmacists and health care partners are collaborating to tackle what’s described as an epidemic: 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 the previous nine drug take-back events from 2010-2014, approximately 277,595 pounds (138 tons) of unused medication was collected from Northern California and Central Valley residents, and 4,823,251 pounds (2,411) tons of drugs were collected nationwide.

“Prescription drug abuse remains a serious public health issue and proper disposal of unused pharmaceuticals can save lives. We urge individuals to take advantage of this opportunity to participate in this event and dispose unwanted medications,” said DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge Bruce C. Balzano.

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


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