One of the questions we get asked the most is, “What do I do with my old medicines?” The answer used to be flush everything down the toilet, but then water supplies became contaminated with the prescription drugs and it affected fish and other aquatic life.
There are several options for safe and responsible drug disposal:
- The DEA’s Take Back Day will be held on April 27, 2013. This nationwide event allows you to bring your prescription meds to a local drop-off point and let the DEA do the disposing for you. Their website says check back on April 1 to learn the locations of the local sites. Here’s the Take Back Day website http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback
- The FDA still recommends flushing certain types of medicines, such as demerol and methadone. Check the FDA’s list for which meds they recommend flushing: http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/BuyingUsingMedicineSafely/EnsuringSafeUseofMedicine/SafeDisposalofMedicines/ucm186187.htm
- Always check with your local laws to see if there are any special disposal requirements.
- See if your state has a mail back program for old medicines.
- In California, here’s the State of CA website dealing with medicine disposal http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/homehazwaste/Medications/household.htm
- Check to see if your local household hazardous waste disposal site accepts medicines.
- If none of these options are available, here’s the State of CA’s Board of Pharmacy disposal recommendations, http://www.pharmacy.ca.gov/publications/dont_flush_meds.pdf
Hope this info helps you reduce the amount of expired medicines in your home.
One more tip, when opening old bottles of medicines, make sure you open the bottles in an area of your home with excellent air flow. One day, after opening many bottles of expired meds, I ended up with a headache from the fumes or off-gassing of the decaying pills.
Good luck! Jeanne