Several Ways to Dispose of Medications

by Dr. Stan Brewer

Many of us have probably had a small stash of outdated or no longer needed medications in our house.  Perhaps some pain pills we didn’t need or outdated over-the-counter medications.  When it comes to getting rid of our prescription drugs there are several dilemmas.  If we just throw the bottle away there is a chance that someone will recognize the classic bottle and use it or sell it.  There is also the chance that an animal will eat it.  Many cities used to recommend flushing drugs down the toilet, but not surprisingly, the EPA has recently found that some drugs in the water can be harmful (some medications are still considered safe to flush down the toilet, just check the label).  With so many problems throwing drugs away, many of us just hang on to them, tucked away in the back of the medicine cabinet.  But there are also risks with keeping medications at home and there are a few safe ways to dispose of medications. The FDA came out with some guidelines to help people know what to do with old medications: click here You can remove the medications from the bottle, mixing them with something undesirable (like kitty litter), then put the mixed medication in a sealed container (an empty tub or seal-able bag). This can then be disposed of in the regular garbage. Perhaps the best option is a drug disposal program.  Some pharmacies have programs.   Metro does take medications with the household hazardous waste program.  Pills can be placed in a ziploc bag and brought to the hazardous waste collection site at 6161 NW 61st Ave (open 9-4).

Photo source: public domain

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