How to Safely Dispose of Unused or Expired Medication

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If one of your goals is to get organized and de-clutter your home, be sure you add your medicine cabinet to your list of spaces requiring your attention. If you can’t remember the last time you disposed of any unused or expired medication, it’s time to go through these items to ensure you don’t have any possible hazards lurking in your home.

Prescription medications have a specific shelf life. After a certain point, they will no longer be as effective at treating the condition for which they were prescribed. Everyone has been guilty of not finishing a prescription given to him or her by a doctor, for whatever reason. In some cases, the medication did not provide the expected results or it produced unwanted side effects. In any event, the prescription bottles with the unfinished prescriptions end up in the cabinet. In some cases, they may sit there for years.

Medicine Cabinet Contents Pose a Health Hazard

You may not consider the contents of your medicine cabinet as possibly contributing to drug abuse, but addiction to prescription medication is a growing problem. While it may never occur to you to take a medication that has been prescribed for someone else, a family member may be experimenting with drugs or already have developed a dependency on a particular one.

The best thing you can do is to keep a close eye on the medications you are currently taking and clean out your medicine cabinet to dispose of other drugs safely.

Dispose of Your Unused Medications Properly

• Do not dispose of medications by flushing them down the toilet unless the instructions specifically state that this is the preferred disposal method.
• Contact your local pharmacy or household recycling service to ask about community drug take-back programs in your area. You may be able to bring the unused prescriptions to a central location for proper disposal.
• If there are no community take-back services available, remove the medication from its original container. Mix with used coffee grounds or kitty litter. The idea is to make the pills undesirable to someone who may come across them in your garbage. Place them in a sealed plastic bag or an empty can and then put in a large garbage bag for disposal.

If You Have Questions About Prescription Drug Abuse

Cleaning out your unused or expired medication is the responsible thing to do. If you find that after you have completed this task, you are missing pills from your current prescriptions or other events lead you to believe that you have an addict in the family, don’t wait to get help. Call us at 1-888-997-3006.

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