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  • Writer's pictureDave Sarowski

Safe Disposal of Pharmaceutical Drugs

Keeping expired and leftover medications in your home can be a risk for children, adolescents, pets, and other adults. Not only can accidental ingestion happen, but drugs may be stolen and abused without your knowledge. Safe disposal ensures that your medicines will not be used improperly.

Drug take back programs and medication disposal services are the safest ways to get rid of unwanted medication. If these options are not readily available, some drugs can be disposed of at home. Understanding the environmental and human risks of each option will help you select a disposal method.

Drug Disposal at Home

Some medications can be disposed of from home. Be sure to check the label or patient information leaflet for safe disposal instructions.

Flushing Medications

Medications listed on the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) flush list can be washed down the sink or toilet. Medicines on the flush list are commonly abused substances that can result in death if taken improperly. Flushing ensures that powerful medications are not accidentally or intentionally touched, ingested, or misused.

If your medications are not listed, do not flush them. Water treatment facilities are not effective in filtering out drugs, causing medicines to leach into the ground or enter waterways. Some medications, such as steroids, can lead to serious problems for wildlife and can contaminate drinking water.

Trash Disposal

Medicines in many forms can be thrown into the household trash. Pill, liquids, drops, patches, and creams should be removed from their original containers and mixed with dirt, cat litter, or coffee grounds. Mixing the drugs makes them less appealing and recognizable. The mixture should be placed in a leak-proof container and thrown in the garbage.

Due to environmental concerns, inhalers should not be thrown away. Contact your waste disposal company for more details.

Drug Take Back Programs

Drug Take Back Programs are typically sponsored by local government to collect prescription and over-the-counter medications for proper disposal. You can check with local law enforcement or use the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) website to find drop off locations near you.

The DEA also sponsors National Prescription Drug Take Back Day to educate the public about the potential abuse of medications and provide safe disposal.

Medication Disposal Services

Medication disposal services are offered by medical waste service providers to safely get rid of unwanted drugs. They offer secure and environmentally friendly disposal methods to protect against drug abuse and pollution.

Both residential and healthcare facilities can benefit from professional disposal services. Professional services maintain compliance with pharmaceutical waste regulations, the EPA, DEA, and local regulatory agencies. Waste services mitigate drug-diversion and environmental risks.

Find Medication Disposal Services Near You

Medical Waste Services, LLC offers medication disposal services to safely dispose of your expired and unused drugs. We make sure to follow all safety guidelines and restrictions to protect the community. Learn more by calling (866) 355-7094 or filling out this form. We will instantly respond with answers to questions you may have, or simply provide you with a free quote within minutes.

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