Proper Disposal of Unused Medication & Sharps

Unused medicines can spell many things:

  • RISK, if they’re taken by someone they weren’t prescribed for.
  • HARM, if accidentally taken by a child or pet.
  • DANGER, or even death, if not used as directed.

Unused or expired medicines may be hiding right in your home. In bathrooms, kitchens, bedrooms, purses, and anywhere you store medicines.

So why put your family at risk? Safely dispose of unused or expired medicines before they can do harm.

There are many ways to get rid of them. The best option is to find a drug take-back location. This could be a local pharmacy or a police station. These take-back locations may offer on-site medicine drop-off boxes, mail-back programs, or in-home disposal products.

The DEA’s web page can also help you find a take-back location near you. Just enter your zip code.

If you don’t have a drug take-back location near you, check the FDA’s Flush List to see if your medicine is on it. Medicines on the Flush List may be especially dangerous with just one dose if they’re taken by children, pets, or others in your home. Flushing certain types of medicines, such as opioids, helps keep everyone safe by making sure these powerful drugs are not accidentally or intentionally swallowed, touched, or misused. Remember, don’t flush any medicine unless it is on the Flush List.

If you don’t have a drug take-back location nearby and your medicine is not on the Flush List, you can dispose of it in the trash. For medicines you dispose of in the trash, FDA recommends that you mix them with an unappealing substance such as dirt, cat litter, or used coffee grounds. Don’t crush pills. Then place the mixture in a sealed plastic bag before throwing it away. Scratch out personal information from the prescription label on the empty packaging.

For complete details and instructions on safe medicine disposal, visit www.FDA.Gov/DrugDisposal.

Visit the websites below for take back locations and disposable instructions: