How to Dispose of Unwanted Medications

Document created by kbass on Dec 29, 2016Last modified by mcunningham on Mar 8, 2017
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Expired or unwanted prescription(s) and over-the-counter medications from homes should never be thrown away by flushing them down the toilet or a drain. DON’T flush medicine! Doing this does keep someone from accidentally taking them, but it can harm water sources because treatment isn’t meant to remove these medications. Please use these rules when getting rid of medicine.


For pills and liquids:

  • Take unused, unneeded or expired prescription(s) and mark out your name and prescription number with permanent marker for safety. DON’T give drugs to anyone else.
  • For pills: Add some water, soft drink or dish soap to help dissolve the pills. For liquids: Add something you can’t eat like cat litter, dirt or coffee grounds.
  • Close the lid and secure with thick tape.
  • Place the bottle(s) in a paper bag or container like a coffee can or plastic laundry bottle. DON’T put drugs in the trash without hiding them. People or animals may find them and use them.
  • Hide the container(s) in the trash. Do not put in recycle bin.



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