Having unused medication on hand can be hazardous to your health—and the environment. Properly disposing of old or expired medications is not only important, but it’s essential.
Here are three ways to safely dispose of unused medications to protect your health and the environment.
Return Unused Medications To Your Pharmacy or Healthcare Provider
The best way to get rid of unwanted or expired medication is to take them back to your pharmacy for safe disposal. Many pharmacies will accept unused and unopened prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, supplements, and pet medications.
Check with your local pharmacy for their specific drug returns and disposal policies. You can also contact your healthcare provider about options for returning unused medications for proper disposal.
Take Advantage of Drug Take-Back Programs
You may be able to participate in a drug “take-back” program sponsored by law enforcement agencies or community organizations that collect unwanted drugs at designated locations and times.
These programs provide an easy way for people to drop off unused medications without worrying about privacy concerns or environmental damage caused by improper disposal methods, such as flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash.
Be sure to check with local law enforcement agencies and community organizations in your area for information on where these programs might be.
Safely Dispose of Unused Medication at Home
If no drug take-back program is available near you or if you need immediate drug disposal, you can still safely dispose of your unwanted medication at home. The FDA recommends using household products like coffee grounds, sawdust, kitty litter, dirt, ashes, or tea leaves to hide the medication before sealing it in a plastic bag or container and throwing it away in the trash.
Remove all identifying information (such as prescription labels) from the container before disposing of it, so no one can access the medication once you discard it. Also, ensure children cannot access the container after you throw it out! Medication is one of the items you should never put down your drain because it can be a hazard to the environment.
A safe environment starts with us! Properly disposing of unused medications is essential for our health and safety. Help protect our planet from potential contamination caused by improper disposal practices, such as flushing drugs down drains or toilets, by practicing these disposal methods.
There are several ways we can safely dispose of unwanted medicines, from taking advantage of drug take-back programs to returning them to pharmacies and healthcare providers. These methods ensure children cannot access them once you have safely discarded them. Taking responsibility today means a healthier tomorrow!