Content medically reviewed by Vicky Magobet, PMHNP-BC, on September 3, 2021.
Whether it's a medicine cabinet, drawer or plastic container, you probably have a place where you store old medications. However, keeping expired or outdated medication on hand can be risky.
Medication disposal reduces the risk of accidental poisoning when kids or pets come across dangerous pills. Getting rid of old meds also ensures you won't take the wrong medication due to a mix-up. Most importantly, disposal keeps these substances out of the hands of those struggling with drug dependence.
When should you dispose of old medication? It's best to get rid of medicine when:
If you're cleaning out your medicine cabinet, here are three ways to get rid of unused or unwanted medication. Whichever method you choose, be sure to remove or scratch out personal information from medication labels or medication packaging to prevent identity theft.
Medicine take-back programs are the best and safest way to dispose of both prescription and over-the-counter medicines. You can find authorized collection sites at pharmacies, hospitals, clinics and law enforcement facilities across the nation.
You can find a collection site near you or learn more about temporary drug collection sites on Drug Take-Back Days in your area.
If a take-back program is not an option, you may need to dispose of your medication in the trash. Take these steps to ensure this method keeps everyone in your household safe:
Most medicines should not be flushed down the toilet. Certain chemicals in medications can pollute water resources or impact local wildlife.
However, if you don’t have a drug take-back program near you, the FDA recommends flushing certain medications as soon as possible to reduce their potential harm. These meds include often misused drugs and medicine that can cause accidental poisoning or even death if taken inappropriately. Most flush list medications have specific instructions on the label.
You should always use extreme caution when flushing medication. Click here for a list of products on the FDA's flush list.
If someone you know is using old or expired medications, they may be struggling with a prescription pill addiction. Diamond House Detox can help. We offer a safe and private facility where our clients find hope and healing. Contact us online to learn more and explore our programs today.