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How to Safely Dispose of Old Medications

How to Safely Dispose of Old Medications

The last one can be tricky. You obviously can’t list old medications on Craigslist or sell it on eBay. And you might find yourself wondering if it is safe to just throw them away?

The answer is actually easier than you might expect.

The Best Way to Get Rid of Unused Medicine

Pharmacists will frequently take back unused prescription and non-prescription drugs for proper disposal.

Yes, it really is as easy as that!

Next time you drop into your pharmacy, ask if they will accept your old drugs. Remember to remove the prescription label from the bottle and shred it to minimize the risk of identity theft. Your pharmacist will take the medicine and the bottle, returning both to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for proper disposal or recycling.

Pharmacist Won’t Take Your Medications?

If your local pharmacist can’t take your medicines, you can search for a DEA public disposal location near you. You can also call 1-800-882-9539 to find a collection location.

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

In 2010, the DEA established National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, events held twice yearly to help people safely get rid of unused prescription medicines. Last May, the DEA collected 447 tons of prescription medications at almost 5,400 different collection sites across all 50 states.

Collection dates have not yet been set for 2017, but the events typically occur in the spring and fall.

When All Else Fails…

What if you can’t find a collection location near you, and you don’t want to wait until the next Drug Take Back Day?

The DEA says that’s okay. You can simply throw away your unused medications safely by following these four steps. 

1. Remove drugs from the original containers and place in a sealable plastic bag, jar, or other container (such as a coffee tin).

2. Fill the container with used coffee grounds, kitty litter or dirt to deter children, pets, or anyone else from finding the pills.
3. Throw it out with your regular garbage.

4. Toss out or recycle the pill bottle or container separately, after removing your identifying information.
Is It Safe to Flush Prescription Medicine?

In certain cases, it’s safer to flush prescription medicines than run the risk of anyone finding them. These medicines include certain powerful and addictive pain medications, such as Oxycontin and Percocet, which could be deadly to children and pets after just one dose.

The FDA has published a list of medicines that can be safely flushed down the toilet if you don’t have a disposal location in your area. It’s better to dispose of these drugs immediately than to leave them lying around the house if you can’t find a collection center.

Understanding the Concerns

Most prescription drug abusers get their drugs from friends and family members, according to DEA reports. Prescription painkillers may open the door to heroin abuse.
Disposing of prescription drugs safely can keep these dangerous drugs out of the hands of addicts, and also help ensure the safety of children and pets or others who might take the medication accidentally.

Five Star Senior Living helps residents manage their medications eliminating the worry about how to dispose of old medicine. Learn more about our services by calling the community nearest you today!

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