How To Safely Dispose of Your Prescriptions

How To Safely Dispose of Your Prescriptions

Mark your calendars. National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is coming up on April 22nd. It’s a day that aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs. Safely and properly disposing of expired or unwanted medication is important and aids in preventing medication abuse. However, it’s important to note that there are right and wrong ways to safely dispose of medicine.

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Don’t Flush Drugs

You should never flush expired or unwanted medications and over-the-counter drugs down the toilet or drain unless the label or accompanying patient information specifically instructs you to do so. This is for a few different reasons.

  1. In homes that use septic tanks, there’s the risk that if prescription and over-the-counter drugs are flushed down the toilet, they can leak into the group and consequently seep into groundwater.
  1. For residences connected to wastewater treatment plants, flushing drugs down the sink or down the drain can result in the medication passing through the treatment system and entering rivers and lakes. This then poses a dangerous risk of the contaminated water being used as sources for drinking water supplies.

Do Take Part in Drug Take Back Program

To safely dispose of medicine or prescription drugs, find a collection site within your city. You can search for a location near you HERE. By properly getting rid of medication – prescription or over-the-counter – you are helping to prevent:

  • Poisoning of children and pets
  • Misuse by teens and adults
  • Health problems from medication mishaps, such as taking too much, taking the wrong medication, or taking old medication that is too old to work properly

If you cannot find a take-back location within your community, there are some steps you can take to dispose of unwanted medication at home safely.

  1. Take all prescription drugs out of their original bottle or container.
  2. Mix unwanted drugs with an undesirable substance, such as cat litter or coffee grounds.
  3. Put the mixture into a sealed disposable container or bag.
  4. Remove any personal information on the original medication bottle, including your Rx number. If you’re unable to tear or scratch off the information, use a permanent marker to black it out.
  5. Place the empty bottle and sealed container with the mixture into your trash for pickup.
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