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Drop-off Unwanted Medications at a Site near You


April 28, 2022 (Barnstable, MA) – Barnstable County’s Hazardous Materials Program encourages community members to drop off expired, unused, or unwanted prescription medications on “National Take Back Day,” which takes place on Saturday, April 30th from 10 AM to 2 PM at a police station near you.

Cape Cod has a largely unconfined sole source aquifer that is very vulnerable to above-ground activities. “National Take Back Day” is free and anonymous and helps to prevent misuse and abuse of medications while protecting local water sources. Collected medications are incinerated, which is the Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended approach for pharmaceutical disposal. Improper disposal of unused medications (such as flushing them down the toilet or throwing them into the trash bin) is detrimental to the water supply and the environment.

“It’s important for us to keep these items out of landfills, wastewater, and drinking water supplies. Through these efforts we can help protect the Cape’s only source of drinking water – our sole source aquifer,” said Extension’s Hazardous Materials Environmental Specialist and Groundwater Guardian Kalliope Chute.

Improper disposal of pharmaceuticals is a public health and safety issue.  In addition to “National Take Back Day,” many police stations, hospitals, and pharmacies have unwanted medication kiosks open all year. Mail-back envelopes are available at pharmacies as well. More information is available at:

To learn more about Cape Cod’s sole source aquifer and how septic systems can impact groundwater visit


Cape Cod Cooperative Extension is the education department for Barnstable County. Educational programs focus on agriculture, marine resources, horticulture, aquaculture, natural resources, water quality, recycling, household hazardous waste, nutrition, food safety, youth development and environmental education issues facing the county. Extension programs are conducted in Barnstable County in cooperation with the staff at the University of Massachusetts, and The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution–Sea Grant program.