National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day-scheduled in the fall and spring-assist with the disposal of medications.
Look through your cupboard for unused or expired medications. Look both for OTC and prescription medications. Remember just because it is safe for you does not mean it will be safe for someone else to take. The easiest way to dispose of these meds is to take advantage of an authorized collector on Take-Back Day. Use the search box here to locate one near you.
You need to check with the site about drugs they may not accept. According to drugs.com they probably will not take needles, inhalers, hydrogen peroxide or iodine-containing meds.
Some pharmacies also accept unwanted meds. These may be a mail-back program or a kiosk. Check with your pharmacist. Both Walgreens and CVS have kiosks to accept unwanted meds. The above link will give you locations.
Call your local police department. Some departments have their own program or accept meds for disposal by another group such as Walgreens and CVS stores.
Home Disposal of Harmful Meds
If the above option is not available for you-missed return day or there are no nearby collection sites-the FDA has recommendations for home disposal. Certain meds are potentially very harmful to others. See their list here. Flush these immediately. Both FDA and EPA see the danger to children and pets as greater than any effects on the environment. Most drugs in the water system come from the waste of the person taking the drug. See Flushing Meds and Water Supplies section for their comments.
Home Disposal of Other Medications
The FDA recommends you mix your pills with something unappealing so animals and children will not want to eat the contents. Dirt and kitty litter are offered as a suggestion. Do not crush the meds. Place meds in a container that won’t spill–a container with a screw-on lid or a ziplock plastic bag. Place all in your trash.
You need to check with your disposal service for their rules about inhalers and aerosols. Both can explode if incinerated.
If you are unsure how to dispose of a med, go to this page and search for your med. Instructions for how to dispose of will be at the bottom of the article about the medicine.
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