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Over 440 pharmacies across Iowa are participating in the TakeAway program! Read this web page for more information!


FIND A TAKEAWAY PHARMACY near you - click here to search by zipcode



Acceptable Meds Poster


Find a Solid Waste Agency in Iowa click here

Purpose of TakeAway

Medication disposal practices commonly used today compromise the integrity of water supplies. Unused and expired drugs pile up in home medicine cabinets, which increase the likelihood for teenagers, elderly, pets, or others to misuse or abuse them.

The TakeAway program aims to reverse these trends by providing the public with a safe, easy way to properly dispose of unwanted and expired medications. TakeAway uses community pharmacies across the state as take-back sites.

How TakeAway Works

Bring unwanted and expired medicines into a participating TakeAway pharmacy. The pharmacist will dispose of the returned medications into a TakeAway system, a waste bin specially designed to safely store discarded pharmaceutical products along with their packaging.

Once filled, the TakeAway system is sealed and shipped to a medication disposal facility where the entire TakeAway system and its contents are incinerated. This ensures unused and expired pharmaceuticals do not enter water supplies. In addition, the incineration facility used by the TakeAway program employs a waste-to-energy incineration process—meaning the energy produced by incineration is harnessed into electricity.

Some participating pharmacies also sell TakeAway envelopes, pre-addressed, pre-postage paid large envelopes that can be taken into the home, filled with unused and expired medicine, and mailed through the United States Postal Service to the disposal facility.

TakeAway Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ for patients and consumers - click here.

FAQ for pharmacists - click here.

TakeAway History - Iowa

Legislation passed in Iowa during 2009 called for the creation of an Iowa community pharmacy-based “pharmaceutical collection and disposal pilot program.” The Iowa Department of Natural Resources awarded grant funds to the Iowa Board of Pharmacy who worked closely with the Iowa Pharmacy Association to offer the TakeAway pilot program.  State funding was also approved by the legislature in 2010.  The Iowa Pharmacy Association continues to work with the Iowa Board of Pharmacy to administer the TakeAway program.

Where to dispose of controlled substances - local medication disposal initiatives with Law Enforcement

Ongoing: The Des Moines Police Department is accepting controlled substances, along with other medications, for disposal. Community members of the Des Moines metro may make an appointment with them by calling 515-237-1565. They are available Monday through Friday from 8am-4pm.

Click here to see a brochure on the program.

The 6th National Drug Take Back Program sponsored by the DEA will be held Saturday, October 26th, 2013, 10 am - 2 pm. Click here for more information.

Update on Federal Rules                

The Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010 was signed into law by President Obama on October 12, 2010. The DEA is further drafting regulations to permit disposal of controlled substances by persons not registered with the DEA. The administration is holding a public input meeting on January 19 and 20, 2011 for stakeholders to share input regarding “the most safe and effective method of disposal of controlled substances consistent with the Controlled Substances Act and the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010”. Following the public meeting, the DEA will post final rules and regulations for the implementation of the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010.  IPA is monitoring this progress and has worked with the National Community Pharmacists Association to provide input to the DEA on the success of the TakeAway program. 

Click here for an overview of controlled drug disposal and the Controlled Substance Act of 1970.

TakeAway Partners

Governors Office Of Drug Control Logo University Hygienic Laboratory Logo
Waste Commission of Scott County Logo DNR Logo
Metro Waste Authority Logo Iowa Nurses Association Logo
National Association of Chain Drug Stores Logo Iowa Retail Federation Logo
Waste Management Logo Iowa Department of Public Health Logo
Sharps Compliance Inc Logo Iowa Healthcare Collaborative Logo
Linn County Solid Waste Agency Logo Iowa Medical Society Logo
Iowa Board of Pharmacy Board of Medicine
Board of Nursing City of Ames
Iowa Landfill Association  

Contact IPA

To contact IPA staff regarding the TakeAway program, email

If you are a student pharmacist with interest in the TakeAway intern position, click here for more information or contact Anthony Pudlo.


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