Medication Disposal Do’s and Don’ts

Medication Disposal Do’s and Don’ts

It’s not unusual for medications to go unused- either the condition for which it was prescribed has been resolved or, perhaps, it didn’t work in the first place and a new med has been prescribed in its place.  So, what’s to be done with the various pills, ointments, and salves that can accumulate?  There’s also the issue of medications that have expired.

Here are a few guidelines that you might find useful:

  1. Don’t flush or just throw out medications.  This method, while easy, can have a negative impact on the environment, water supply, and various aquatic and animal species.
  2. Perhaps the best disposal method is to find a drug take-back program.  Many pharmacies and law enforcement agencies offer such programs periodically.  Pick up the phone and find one near you.
  3. If push comes to shove and you have no choice but to dispose of medications yourself, be sure to do so in such a way that eliminates the chance of being consumed by a human being or animal.  Place the medication in a resealable plastic bag with some soap and water.  Wait for the medicine to disintegrate then add some coffee grounds or kitty litter.  Reseal the bag and toss in the garbage.

It’s also important to remove and destroy any labels that show the patient’s name, pharmacy name, and doctor’s information.

Seniors can easily become confused when tasked with medication management.  By eliminating medications that are no longer needed or expired you’ll be helping them to stay safe. 

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