Drop boxes collect unwanted, unused medications




MSR HealthThe Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office and Hennepin County Environmental Services reported March 15 having collected 6,700 pounds of unwanted medicines since medicine disposal drop boxes were made available in March 2012. Hennepin County urges residents to properly dispose of their unused and unwanted medicines at six drop boxes located in sheriff and county facilities.

The abuse of prescription and over-the-counter medication is an epidemic in the U.S. and a growing problem in Hennepin County. Most people addicted to painkillers have said that their supply of drugs came from the home medicine cabinet of a family member or friend.

“Do not become the drug supplier to your teenager — or anyone else,” said Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek. “Secure the medicine that you need in a safe place and properly dispose of expired or unused medications to help reduce the risk of addiction and improper use.”

Storing medicines in the home poses both safety and health threats. A recent study found that among high school seniors, taking painkillers is one of the most popular methods of getting high, second only to marijuana. For toddlers, poisonings from accidentally ingesting medicines are on the rise.

Proper disposal also helps to protect the environment. “Medicines flushed down the drain or disposed of in the trash can contaminate bodies of water, harm wildlife and end up in drinking water supplies,” said Hennepin County Commissioner Jan Callison. “Using a medicine drop box is an easy and convenient way to safely dispose of your unwanted medicines while helping to protect our water quality.”

Medicine drop boxes are available in the following locations:

Brooklyn Center — Hennepin County District Court Brookdale, 6125 Shingle Creek Pkwy.

Hours: Mon — Thurs., 10 am-9 pm; Fri.-Sat., 10 am-5 pm; Sunday, Noon — 5 pm

Brooklyn Park — Hennepin County Sheriff Patrol Headquarters, 9401 83rd Ave. N. Hours: Mon.-Fri., 8 am — 4:30 pm.

Edina — Hennepin County Library – Southdale, 7009 York Ave. S. Hours: Mon.-Thurs., 10 am-9 pm; Fri.-Sat., 10 am— 5 pm; Sunday, Noon— 5 pm

Minneapolis — Hennepin County Public Safety Facility, 401 Fourth Ave. S. Hours: 24 hours a day, seven days a week

Minnetonka — Hennepin County District Court Ridgedale, 12601 Ridgedale Drive. Hours: Mon.-Thurs., 10 am— 9 pm; Fri.-Sat., 10 am — 5 pm; Sunday: Noon — 5 pm

Spring Park – Hennepin County Sheriff’s Water Patrol, 4141 Shoreline Drive. Hours: Mon.- Fri., 8 am — 4:30 pm

Materials accepted 

Medicine from households are accepted, including prescription medicines, including controlled substances; over-the-counter medicines; vitamins and supplements; ;and pet medicines.


Not accepted 

No sharps or used syringes; no medicines from businesses



The green medicine drop boxes are located in the lobby at each location. No ID required. The service is free. Bring medicines in their original containers. The boxes are self-serve. Pull the handle to open and drop the medicine into the box.


For more information, visit www.hennepin.us/med icine or call Hennepin County Environmental Services at 612-348-3777. 

  Information and photo provided by Hennepin County