Dispose of Unwanted or Expired Drugs to Keep Out Kids Safe

Dispose of Unwanted or Expired Drugs to Keep Out Kids Safe

You should dispose of any expired, unused, or unwanted prescription and OTC products – tablets, capsules, creams, ointments, or inhalers. They pose a potential poisoning risk and there is no reason to keep them around. However, do not just flush these medicines down the toilet unless specifically instructed to do so. Some medicines are not safe to flush and can eventually end up in our water supply and local lakes, rivers, and streams. Here is a list of medicines that should be flushed down the toilet or sink, mainly to prevent children or pets from accidently ingesting any of these products.


First, check with your local pharmacy or hospital to see if they participate in a community medication disposal program. Consult your local city or county trash, recycling or waste management system for any drug disposal programs.


If none of these programs are available in your area, you can still safely dispose of your expired and unwanted medicines by following these simple steps.

1. Remove medicines from original prescription bottle or containers. Mark off any identifying information, such as your name, RX number, etc. Once removed, you can simply throw these empty bottles in the trash.
2. Mix drugs with something undesirable like kitty litter, coffee grounds, or potting soil.
3. Place this mixture in a sealable plastic bag.
4. Place the sealed bag in a container that has a tight lid (coffee tin, margarine container, etc.)
5. Place the container with lid on in your trash. We recommend doing this on trash day so that the medications do not sit in your trash bin for more than one day.


Remember that all medicines should be stored in locked cabinets out of the reach and sight of children. Expired medicines are not safe to take – for you, your child, or anyone in your household. There is no good reason to keep them around. Dispose of them for the safety of you and your family. Dispose of them properly to keep your community and our environment safe.

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