Prescription medicine, although meant to save lives, can be extremely harmful when taken incorrectly or abused. Just one dose can be lethal when taken by a curious child or even a memory-impaired senior relative. Learning how to properly dispose of prescription drugs is important, but often confusing and overwhelming without research.

At Stat Emergency Center of Laredo, we are advocates for protecting your family and the environment. Taking necessary safety measures doesn’t need to be difficult. That is why we put together disposal methods to determine the best solution for you and your loved ones when getting rid of medicines.

Prescription Drugs Disposal Methods

The best way to dispose of your prescription medications is to find a medicine take-back program or give them to a DEA-authorized recollection site. Medicine take-back programs and recollection sites are hosted through pharmacies, clinics, and law enforcement agencies. Some pharmacies even offer mail-back services, which can often be attached to your prescription and then simply sent back. Visit the DEA webpage for a list of approved locations near you.
If neither of these are an option for you, the FDA recommends flushing your old or leftover medications down the toilet. If you’re unsure as to whether or not it’s safe to keep an unfinished medication, the FDA provides a list of drugs that should be immediately flushed. Some of these medications can be lethal in even one dose when not taken properly or taken by someone other than for whom the medication was prescribed. It’s always better to air on the side of caution when dealing with prescription drugs.

  • This is especially true for the elderly. If your loved one resides in an assisted living facility, make sure their old prescriptions are disposed of properly.

If you’d prefer to throw your prescriptions away, don’t just toss your bottle with all the pills inside in the trash. For your own safety and security, make sure all of the information on the pill bottle has been covered or marked over before throwing it away — this protects your identity and keeps others from impersonating you to obtain pharmaceuticals. For disposal of the medication itself, follow the steps below as recommended by the FDA.

  1. Mix medicines, but don’t crush capsules or pills, with inedible substances like dirt, wood shavings or cat litter.
  2. Put mixture in a plastic bag and seal.
  3. Throw away in household trash, and remember to mark out your personal information in prescription bottles.

DailyMed provides instructions for disposal of medications if you’re still unsure about yours.

At Stat Emergency Center of Laredo, we know that proper disposal of medications is necessary in taking control of your health and protecting the health of your loved ones. Let us know how you best dispose of old prescription medications.

Nutex Health, Inc supports you and your family’s health. With our 24 Hour Emergency Rooms in Laredo, we can treat you promptly with our expert team of nurses and emergency room experienced doctors.

April 18, 2016
Written by Bailey Morgan
Content Writer at Nutex Health, Inc