Get rid of old and unused drugs safelyOld and unused medications and used needles can be a danger to your family, your community, and the environment. To prevent problems, follow these do's and don'ts.
- put old prescriptions in the trash. Keep them in the original containers, but mark out the patient's name and personal information. Secure the packaging with strong tape. Place the medication container into a non-transparent container, such as a small yogurt tub.
- discourage others from consuming old medications by adding water to the bottle to dissolve pills, or adding coffee grounds or spices to make liquid medication less appealing.
- consider buying a needle-destruction device or a sharps container that makes needles safe for direct disposal in the trash. They can be found at drug stores or online. Research your local waste collection rules for needle disposal.
- flush medications in the toilet. Doing so can pollute wastewater and impact wildlife.
- place used syringes in the trash or in the toilet.
- dispose of medications in recycling bins.
Get more tips about throwing away medicines from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Reprinted with Permission. Reviewed by: Kate Christensen, MD, September 2010. ©2010 Kaiser Permanente
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