There is no state or federal law that requires you to take back your unused medications. However, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recommends the following methods for disposing of unwanted drugs:
- Find a local disposal program. Many states and communities have regularly scheduled drug disposal events that make it easy for you to discard your unused medications. These events are often held at pharmacies, police stations, sheriff departments, and even hazardous-waste disposal sites. To find out about disposing of your unused prescriptions, you can ask your pharmacist or call your state board of pharmacy.
- Dispose of unused medications at home. If there is no drug-disposal program in your city, you can dispose of your unused prescription drugs at home. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends checking the label on the medication and following its safe-disposal instructions. While the FDA suggests flushing some drugs down the toilet, that is not the case for all drugs. If you cannot locate instructions on the label or access the FDA’s website for the list of drugs that should be flushed, you can always take your pills out of the container and put them in sealable bag mixed with cat litter or coffee grounds and throw it away in the trash. However, before you do this, you should check with your state pharmacy board to see if it has specific guidelines on prescription disposal.
In addition to disposing prescriptions in these two ways, there is also a National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. While the last one just passed in September, there will likely be another one during the spring of 2015. These national days are coordinated by the DEA to provide consumers across this nation with easy collection sites that will take back their pills for free, with no questions asked.
By properly disposing of your old prescriptions, you can help ensure that old medicine isn’t taken by mistake. Did this article help you? Please spread the word on Facebook about the importance of properly disposing of unused medications.