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

For Immediate Release
April 18, 2017

Your Medicine Cabinet Needs Spring Cleaning, Too

Prevent misuse and abuse on Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, April 29

San Rafael, CA – Marin County is facing a crisis of medication misuse and abuse. Between 2006 and 2013, there was more than two-fold increase in opioid pain medicine prescriptions, emergency room visits related to prescription drugs, and overdose deaths in Marin.   

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, supports the proper disposal of unused and unwanted prescription drugs.

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 April 29, encouraging residents to rid their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. 

Unused medications in home cabinets are targets for misuse and abuse. According to a 2015 RxSafe Marin Community Survey, 60 percent of Marin residents reported holding on to unused or expired medicine. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends.

“Our medicine cabinets are helping fuel the problem of prescription drug misuse.” said Dr. Matthew Willis, Marin County Public Health Officer. “The good news is that clearing out unused and leftover medications can make our homes much safer.”

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

The safe disposal of medications is a priority for the RxSafe Marin coalition, which gathers law enforcement, healthcare and communities together to tackle the problem of prescription drug misuse.

In the five previous drug take-back events from 2014-2016, 2,958 pounds of unused medication were collected from Marin residents and 893,498 pounds (447 tons) of drugs were collected nationwide.

“These results show that more Americans than ever are taking the important step of cleaning out their medicine cabinets and making homes safe from potential prescription drug abuse or theft,” said DEA Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg. “Unwanted, expired or unused prescription medications are often an unintended catalyst for addiction.  Take-back events like these raise awareness of the opioid epidemic and offer the public a safe and anonymous way to help prevent substance abuse.”

When dropping off medications, remember that collection 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