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Make Your Home a Safe Space: Dispose of Medications Safely

January 03, 2019

It’s possible that you have unused prescription medications stored in your cabinets as you read this, because nearly 40% of all Americans do. Whether it’s an expired medication that you no longer need or a nearly full container of medication that didn’t work for your symptoms, it is always important to dispose of unused medication to lower the risk of accidental exposure in the home.

Safe disposal can be done in three easy ways:

  • Kroger Pharmacies, Goodwill stores/donation centers in Montgomery County, and prepaid envelopes at CVS Pharmacy locations all provide free medication disposal pouches that will assist you in cleaning out your medicine cabinet safely. Click here to find a location nearest you.
  • Your local police station or pharmacy may have a safe medicine disposal program or a drug drop-box, so check there for a convenient place to drop off your medications. Click here to find a location nearest you.
  • Check your local news, or click here, to stay aware of local events that collect prescription medications and provide safe disposal to entire communities.

These are the best options for safely disposing of prescription medications, but if none of these options are available to you, there are still steps you can take to keep your prescriptions out of the wrong hands. Mix medicines in an unpalatable substance like cat litter, dirt, or used coffee grounds. Seal in a plastic bag and throw the container in the trash.

It is not recommended to flush medications down the toilet, as sewage systems are unable to remove them from water that is released into lakes, rivers, or oceans. Though there is no evidence that these traces are dangerous for humans, they have been found to pose a risk to certain components of aquatic life.

Remember to remove labels from empty medication containers before disposing.  

 

For medications you’re still using:

Store them in their original container in a cabinet or somewhere else out of sight. Keep them out of reach of children and pets. Read the materials that came with your prescription to see if there are any special instructions when it comes time to dispose of them.

Source: Montgomery County Prevention Coalition