Know Where to Drop Off Your Unused Prescription Drugs and Opiates

Sponsored By: The Kennedy Center

Open any medicine cabinet in this country and you’re likely to find one or two unused prescriptions. We’re given a drug for a tooth extraction, but need to use only one or two pills. Or we have minor surgery but use only half the medication.

What happens to all these leftovers? Some are flushed down the toilet. Others are thrown in the trash. Many continue to accumulate in the medicine cabinet.

None of these are a real solution. Drugs discarded in the trash contribute to contamination of both landfill soil and the water supply, according to a study in the journal Environmental Science. Children and pets who pluck drugs from the garbage can suffer accidental poisoning. Worse, intentional misuse of prescription opioids – drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone and methadone – is now fueling a growing epidemic of accidental overdose and deaths.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse notes that more than 70 percent of adults who misuse prescription drugs get them from friends or relatives.

“Kids are going to their parent’s and grandparent’s medicine cabinets and getting the pills right there,” says Captain Dave Soderberg of the Goose Creek Police Department.

In 2015, to target the prescription drug epidemic, the Kennedy Center, a non-profit prevention and treatment center in Berkeley County, applied for an ECHO (Empowering Communities for Healthy Outcomes) grant administered by the South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Drug Abuse. The Center collaborated on the grant with SPARx, a subcommittee of the Berkeley County Prevention Board. A needs assessment found that in 2016, there were 41 overdose deaths in Berkeley County. Of these, 38 involved prescription drugs.

“The goal of the grant is to prevent the onset and reduce the progression of prescription drug abuse and misuse in South Carolina,” says Sarah Halse, Berkeley County coordinator for the Kennedy Center’s grant. Plans were put in place to establish three permanent drug drop-off sites to collect unused prescriptions. “Once the drugs are collected, they’re burned so that there’s no danger of them polluting a landfill or the water system,” says Halse.

Four local drop-off locations are:

Goose Creek Police Department

519 N. Goose Creek Blvd.

Goose Creek, SC 29445

Open 24 hours

Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office

223 N. Live Oak Drive

Moncks Corner, SC 29461

Open 24 hours

Moncks Corner Police Department

118 Carolina Avenue

Moncks Corner, SC 29461

Open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.


1120 N. Main Street

Summerville, SC 29483

Open 24 Hours

“I wasn’t sure we were going to see that much interest when the boxes were first put into place” says Soderberg. “But we put it on our website and the next thing I knew, the box was full. I’m amazed at how much we’ve collected.”

There’s little doubt that the drop-off containers are filling a need. “A parent recently shared with me that her child had her wisdom teeth pulled,” says Sarah Halse. “By the time the girl was back to school the following week, she’d had nearly 50 calls or text messages from other students looking to buy her pain pills.”

“I’m getting really positive feedback about the drop-off locations,” says Halse, “People are really glad to know they’re there, but more people need to know about this.”

For more information about the Kennedy Center and the drop-off locations, go to or call (843) 797-7871, ext. 119.