A Complete Guide to Prescription Drug Disposal

You could be breaking the law by disposing of prescription medications. The FDA has specific ways in which unused or expired prescription drug disposal should be done. You can not simply throw the entire bottle or box in the trash.

Most people do not know how to dispose of medication properly. Medication safety is a top priority and disposing of it the proper way ensures that children, pets, and others will not get exposed to it. Learn more on the best way to get rid of that old medicine in your cabinet.

Prescription Drug Disposal

We do not want prescription drugs hanging around our homes that are not being taken. They should get disposed of properly, as to not break the law.

There are three options:

  • Drug disposal dropbox
  • Flushing down the toilet
  • Safe garbage disposal

Several ways may seem like good choices for getting rid of prescription drugs, but actually are not even legal:

  • Bringing it to your doctor
  • Sending it through the mail
  • Giving it to the pharmacist

While receiving your prescriptions through the mail is convenient, sending them back is not an option. if you want to learn more about how you can start getting your prescriptions in the mail read on here.

Expired Drugs

Medications have expiration dates, and should not be taken past the posted date. They may be less effective, ineffective, changed in chemical composition, and can even form harmful bacteria after their expiration date. Expired medication should always be disposed of properly.

Unused or Unwanted Prescription Drugs

When you have finished a course of medicine, or have switched to a different prescription, there may be some leftover. Unused prescription drugs should be disposed of to avoid them getting into the wrong hands.

Drug Disposal Drop Box

The preferred method of disposing of unused or expired prescription medication is to drop them off at a disposal box. These boxes are typically located at drug stores and pharmacies.

Boxes labeled “safe medication disposal.” They look like a mail dropbox and are locked, and secured. Medication dropped here will be destroyed.

If you are unsure where one is located closest to you, you can search for “drug disposal” on Google Maps, or use this DEA link. Remove the medication from bottles with personal information, or cross out your information before dropping it into a box.

The FDA Flush List

Certain medications are considered safe to flush down the toilet. The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has compiled a list of medications that are safe (and recommended) to flush down the toilet. You can find that list here, remember that any medicine not on the list should be disposed of at a dropbox, or safely in the garbage.

Safe Garbage Disposal

Drugs that are not on the FDA flush list can get thrown away, but require a specific process to ensure the safety of children, pets, or others that may go through the garbage.

Dump medicine into a sealed bag, pour in some water to partially dissolve the medicine. Add an inedible substance to the bag such as dirt or cat litter to deter anyone that may get into the garbage from eating the medicine. Place the mixture into a dark unmarked bag and put it into the trash.

Medicine Bottle

Disposing of medication properly is one thing, but what about the bottles and packaging that has your personal information on them? Prescription bottles are recyclable, but you should first remove the label or cross out your information before tossing it in the bin.

Smart and Safe

Take the time to dispose of your prescriptions properly and keep everyone safe. Prescription drug disposal takes minimal effort to do legally. Spread the word to your friends and family, as many people are not aware of the laws. Keep up to date with helpful articles like this on laws and other topics.