Big Red Barrel

What is the Big Red Barrel?

Big Red Barrel Facts

The Big Red Barrel Program is designed to reduce misuse of prescription drugs in a community by proactive collection and disposal through safe means, utilizing a local “drop-off barrel” point. The barrels are permanent units located at police stations, and allow community members to properly dispose of their unused, unwanted or expired medication for free.

All medication is then collected and transported by law enforcement officials, and disposed of in an environmentally safe, EPA-approved manner. Pharmaceutically-controlled substances are accepted including, but not limited to, OxyContin, Vicodin, and Percocet. No questions will be asked.

Our motto is “Don’t flush, toss, share, or save for later. Use the Big Red Barrel.”

Why Use Big Red Barrel?

Medicine abuse hurts people. 
Many kids assume it is safe to abuse medicine, because it is prescribed by a doctor, or sold in a pharmacy. But when taken in high doses or mixed with other drugs, many medications have serious and life-threatening consequences, including addiction, overdose, and progression to illegal drugs like heroin.



Improper disposal of unused medication hurts our environment.
Pharmaceuticals are present and persistent in Michigan’s waters, meaning they do not easily break down. According to Christine Grossman, Waste Specialist with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, “Environmental testing has shown materials like sleep aids, blood pressure meds, birth control, antidepressants, and various other medications in our water.”


According to the Center for Disease Control Website:

        • In 2011, prescription drugs were involved in more than half of the 41,300 overdose deaths that year, and opioid pain relievers were involved in nearly 17,000 of these deaths.
        • Drug overdose was the leading cause of injury death in 2011. Among people 25 to 64 years old, drug overdose caused more deaths than motor vehicle traffic crashes.
        • In 2011, drug misuse and abuse caused about 2.5 million emergency department (ED) visits. Of these, more than 1.4 million ED visits were related to pharmaceuticals.
        • Between 2004 and 2005, an estimated 71,000 children (18 or younger) were seen in EDs each year because of medication overdose (excluding self-harm, abuse and recreational drug use).
        • Among children under age 6, pharmaceuticals account for about 40% of all exposures reported to poison centers.
        • In the United States, prescription opioid abuse costs were about $55.7 billion in 2007. Of this amount, 46% was attributable to workplace costs (e.g., lost productivity), 45% to healthcare costs (e.g., abuse treatment), and 9% to criminal justice costs.
        • When asked how Rx narcotics were obtained for non-medical use, 70% of 12th graders said they were given to them by a friend or relative (Source: Monitoring the Future Survey 2011).



(INCLUDES a Brief Segment on Consequences of Tobacco Use Activity)



There are three simple steps to the process:

  1. Bring your unused, expired, or unwanted prescription or over-the-counter pills, in their original containers, to the Sheriff’s Station in the lower level of the Manchester Village Office, 912 City Road. The hours for drop-off are: 8am-4:30pm M-F, and during library hours).
  2. Place medications in the plastic bags provided at the drop-off chute located in the hallway at the Sheriff’s Station. Seal the bags and deposit in the chute. Do not place any containers with your personal information in the barrel. (There will be posted instructions and supplies available there for your use.)
  3. Feel good about doing the right thing to protect our kids, and our environment!

*Please note: Only solid medicines are accepted.
** Contact your local pharmacy to ask about proper disposal of the following items.
*** Check out for County specific disposal information options.


Big Red Barrel Magnet

For more information

Call: (734) 260-2822, or visit:

24/7 accessible Barrels are also located at:

Chelsea Police Department
311 S. Main Street Chelsea, MI 48118

Dexter (Washtenaw County Sheriff sub-station8140 Main Street Dexter, MI 48130

Scio Township (Washtenaw County Sheriff sub-station)
1055 N. Zeeb Road Ann Arbor, MI 48103

Big Red Barrel Promotion Toolkit

Big Red Barrel Magnet
Big Red Barrel Handout
BRB Newsletter/Article
BRB News Article
Sgt Shows How to Use BRB
Manchester Big Red Barrel
Big Red Barrel Poster
National Take Back Day
Big Red Barrel Facts


Prescription Drugs
Talking to Your Kids About Rx Drug Abuse
Talking to Your Child About Drugs
What You Can Do to Prevent Drug Abuse
Mayo Clinic - Prescription Drug Abuse
The Power of Grandparents
Drug Guide for Parents
Prescription and Over-the-Counter Drug Guide
Preventing Teen Abuse of Prescription Drugs Fact Sheet
Parenting Practices
Intervention eBook
Disposal of Unused Medicines
Michigan Automated Prescription System
SAMHSA Opioid Overdose Prevention Toolkit