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National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, needles collection event scheduled for Oct. 24 at East Side Recycling Center

A graphic for a Prescription Drug Take Back Day event on Oct. 24, 2020.

Johnson County residents can properly dispose of unwanted or outdated pharmaceuticals and needles at the City's National Prescription Drug Take Back Day event, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, in the parking lot of the East Side Recycling Center, 2401 Scott Blvd. SE. 

To protect our community, face coverings are required at this event, per the Mayor’s order. Please plan to stay in your vehicle and hand items out to staff or plan to direct staff to where in the vehicle your items are located.

The event is organized nationally by the US Drug Enforcement Agency. The Iowa City Police Department and the Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center partner to offer the local event.  Events for pharmaceutical collections in other communities can be found online

The National Prescription Drug Take Back addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Many Americans are not aware that medicines that languish in home cabinets past their need are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse.

Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are at alarming rates, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that many abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, many Americans do not know how to properly dispose of their unused medicine, often flushing them down the toilet or throwing them away, both potential safety and health hazards.

How to safely transport needles and sharps

Pharmaceuticals should be in the original containers with names blacked out or in plastic baggies with no personal patient information.

Sharps/needles should be in sealed, rigid plastic containers with firmly attached lids, such as coffee cans or laundry detergent bottles. Plastic containers made of thinner plastic, like milk jugs, should not be used. Needles and sharps that come in unsafe containers, like cardboard boxes, milk jugs, or plastic bags, will not be accepted. Needles can only be accepted from residents; businesses and non-profit organizations, please call 319-887-6160 for disposal options. 

Household sharps/needles and non-controlled substance medications are also accepted year-round at the Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center’s Household Hazardous Waste Facility. More info at

Event information and questions

For questions about the local take-back event, contact Iowa City Police Detective Ryan Wood at, or Resource Management Superintendent Jennifer Jordan at


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