Easy Steps for Getting Rid of Expired Medication It’s okay to toss some old drugs in the trash, but others need special handling. At least a few expired or unwanted medications are lurking in your medicine cabinet. There are ways to dispose of your old medicaments.
Consider the following:
TAKE PRECAUTIONS Leftover medications can put you and others at risk for misuse and accidental overdose.
Remove the drug from its original container and mix it with a substance that makes them less recognizable such as coffee grounds, kitty litter or sawdust. Then place the mixture in a sealable plastic bag or other container that won’t leak, and put it in the trash.
Before you discard the prescription bottle, scratch away the personal information on the label— or remove the label altogether.
TAKE THE DRUGS BACK TO THE PHARMACY In many contexts pharmacies, hospitals, clinics and long-term-care centers can take medications back any time of the year.
FLUSH VERY DANGEROUS DRUGS DOWN THE DRAIN Can’t get to a pharmacy or another location to dispose of more dangerous drugs, such as the narcotic painkillers codeine, morphine, and others…?The FDA recommends flushing these down the toilet.
OTHER EXCEPTIONS Asthma inhalers, insulin syringes or any other syringes, medications containing iodine, marijuana, and mercury thermometers are not accepted at most collection sites. In some parts of the country, you can put asthma inhalers in the trash or recycling, but in some areas, they are considered hazardous waste and can’t be tossed in the regular trash. For proper disposal instructions, contact your local sanitation company, recycling facility, or the health department.