Press Releases


Drop-Box Drug Disposal Program Offered Statewide

Municipalities Encouraged to Adopt Secure, Ongoing Collection of Unwanted Medications


HARTFORD, October 6 -- On the heels of a successful pilot project, the Department of Consumer Protection’s Drug Control Division is offering help to towns wishing to start a drug disposal drop-box program to remove unwanted  prescription and over-the-counter medications from residential households.

In July, the Drug Control Division helped the Lower Fairfield County Regional Action Council and four local police departments to create ongoing, secure collection programs for unwanted medication. Since inception three months ago, these sites have collected more than 50 pounds of unwanted medication, Division Director John Gadea, R.Ph., said today.

“After hosting multiple collection days where residents turned in old prescriptions and other drugs for safe disposal, the towns of Greenwich, Ridgefield, Wilton, and New Canaan wanted to make the collection process permanent,” Gadea said. “We worked with their Regional Action Council and local police departments to develop a plan that provides greatest access for the community at the most reasonable cost to the towns.”

“This collaboration brought about a cost-effective, workable solution for the pilot communities, and now their outcome is available to any community that wants to move forward with it,” Consumer Protection Commissioner William M. Rubenstein said. “For safety’s sake, communities need to provide residents with a way to get unwanted, unused medications out of their homes in a way that is secure and environmentally friendly. This option certainly meets those objectives, in addition to being efficient and low-cost.”

The plan involves placing a locked, well marked, drop-box in local police departments, where residents  can discard their unwanted or unused medicines any time the police department lobby is open. Residents need not complete forms nor answer questions about the items they drop off; however, the boxes do not accept needles or liquid medications.

When the collection container inside a drop-box is filled, two designated police officers or an evidence clerk and a police officer seal the container and place it into evidence as abandoned property, following the police department’s usual procedures. The collected medications are then periodically destroyed through witnessed incineration.

The cost to each town is minimal, requiring only a one-time cost of $500 to $600 for the drug drop-box. Some towns found a corporate donor for the drop-box. Since the medicines are “law enforcement abandoned property,” towns are not charged for incineration.

Gadea says the protocol has received approval from the federal Drug Enforcement Agency as a safe and secure means of drug disposal at the community level, and hopes that more towns will adopt the strategy.

“It’s a one-time effort that pays for itself almost immediately, in terms of removing unwanted drugs on an ongoing basis, rather than scheduling, promoting and hosting routine drug collection events,” he said.

The written protocol for towns wishing to establish a secure, local drug drop-box is now online at on the home page. To learn more, please contact the Department of Consumer Protection Drug Control Division at (860) 713- 6065 at


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