What are the Proper Ways to Dispose of Expired Medications?

You keep your house nice and tidy, but when was the last time you cleaned out your medicine cabinet? When you’re going your shelves and find medications that have expired or that you simply no longer need, make sure you follow proper disposal procedures to keep you and others safe.

On the packaging to any medications you’ve bought of been prescribed, you’ll find an expiration date. Medicine that has passed its expiration date has lost its effectiveness and some can even become harmful if used. That’s why there is no use for expired medication. With no need to keep it around, consider the best disposal methods near you and act accordingly.

Your two best options are “take back” services. National Rx Take Back days are organized by the Drug Enforcement Administration, or DEA, throughout the year and offer citizens the chance to dispose of their old prescriptions safely. Otherwise, you can check your location with Dispose My Meds to see if any local pharmacies, police stations, or other locations have drop-offs for expired medication disposal. Both options ensure that expired medication is handled safely and efficiently.

If neither options are available to you, you can dispose of your meds in your household trash. However, you need to take additional steps. Throw out the medication in its original container if you can, making sure the lid is secure. If it came in a prescription bottle, remove the label or, if you can’t, scratch or black-out your personal information. Hide the containers in other, non-medicine packaging in your trash, like a cereal box or coffee can. Finally, don’t put the trash out until pick-up day. This is the best way to keep your information safe.

You should avoid flushing medication down the toilet unless it’s an absolute last resort. Though it remains common practice for some, it poses a potential risk to the water supply and local environment, as does throwing away loose medication in household trash.

If you have any questions about safely disposing of your prescription medications, visit Slater Pharmacy at 407 Hawkins Avenue in Lake Ronkonkoma, or call us at 631-588-1590.