Everybody ends up with some manner of expired medication in the old cabinet sooner or later. For some they may not see it as a big deal, leaving them to sit for years and years. Others like to clear out old things when it is time. But there are some right ways and wrong ways to dispose of old medications.

pills spilling out of a pill bottle

Medication Disposal Options

Take Back Programs

The U.S drug enforcement administration (DEA) provides a national drug take back day in various communities around the nation. To find out where a drop-off location is, you’ll have to check with your local law enforcement. Beyond the DEA, many pharmacists will offer collection services as a safe option for medication disposal.

Beyond governmental programs and pharmacists, plenty of medical waste businesses can safely come collect, and then dispose of, your old medications. This option is especially good for medical practises who handle large quantities of medication, and can’t practically move it around themselves. Seek out professionals that specialize in pharmaceutical waste disposal for safe and proper disposal.

Safe Home Disposal

For some, they may not live in an area where professional services are available, there are those living in very rural areas after all. In situations like these, you still need to dispose of your old medication in a safe manner. At the end of the day, you really only have two options in this regard: Flushing medication, and disposing in the household trash.

Certain harmful medications have directions right on the label telling you to flush them down the toilet when they are no longer needed. If for some reason the label is lacking information, and you want to check to be sure, there is an official list of medications that recommend flushing. If the medication is not on the list, or says do not flush, then make sure you do not flush them down. Another disposal option is needed in that situation.

When flushing is not an option for certain medications, disposal in the trash is the solution. This one is trickier, because dumpster divers can try and salvage them. In order to dispose of these safely some steps need to be taken:

  1. Take the medication out of the original container and mix it up with something unappealing. Things like kitty litter, mud, coffee grounds, or other such substance will help ward off curious individuals.
  2. Seal this mixture in something sealable, an old container, freezer bag, etc. This prevents it from spilling all over the place.
  3. Take your container of choice, containing your slurry, and throw it in the trash.
  4. Make sure any personal information on the old medication packaging has been scratched off before throwing them away.

Safety First

When it comes to the disposal of old medications, make sure you take it seriously and do it safely. If you ever need assistance with it, try seeking out a professional medical waste service like AMS MedWaste, we’re happy to help out.