Is your medicine cabinet full of expired drugs or medications you no longer use? How should you dispose of them? Medicines play an important role in treating many conditions and diseases and when they are no longer needed it is important to dispose of them properly to help reduce harm from accidental exposure or intentional misuse.
A safe option for consumers to dispose of unneeded medicines is to transfer unused medicines to collectors registered with the DEA. DEA-authorized collectors safely and securely collect and dispose of pharmaceuticals containing controlled substances and other medicines. Hyde Drug Store is the only DEA-authorized collector in Lawrence County. Just come in and dispose of your unused or unneeded medications in our onsite drop-box and we can safely and securely dispose of them.
Medicine take-back programs are another good way to safely dispose of most types of unneeded medicines. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) periodically hosts National Prescription Drug Take-Back events where collection sites are set up in communities nationwide for safe disposal of prescription drugs. Local law enforcement agencies may also sponsor medicine take-back programs in your community. Likewise, consumers can contact their local waste management authorities to learn about medication disposal options and guidelines for their area.
If you are unable to make it to medicine take-back programs or DEA-authorized collectors, most medicines can be disposed of in the household trash:
- Mix medicines (do not crush tablets or capsules) with an unpalatable substance such as dirt, kitty litter, or used coffee grounds;
- Place the mixture in a container such as a sealed plastic bag
- Throw the container in your household trash;
- Scratch out all personal information on the prescription label of your empty pill bottle or empty medicine packaging to make it unreadable, then dispose of the container.
There is a small number of medicines that may be especially harmful and, in some cases, fatal with just one dose if they are used by someone other than the person for whom the medicine was prescribed. To prevent accidental ingestion of these potentially dangerous medicines by children, or pets, it is recommended that these medicines be disposed, not in the trash like most medications, but quickly through a medicine take-back program or by transferring them to a DEA-authorized collector. If these disposal options are not readily available, it is recommended that these medicines be flushed down the sink or toilet as soon as they are no longer needed. Contact your pharmacist for the list of medications that should be disposed in through these means.
If you have any questions regarding proper drug disposal, please contact Hyde Drug Store for any questions or concerns.