Safely Dispose of Unused Medications
See if a drug take-back program is available in your community. There are medication drop boxes in many areas of the state for safe disposal. The PA Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) has a searchable database of take back locations available.
Check with your local Drug and Alcohol Agency, community coalition or police department to see if there are any medication take back programs in your area, such as the ones previously held by the DEA.
Throw the drugs in the household trash following these steps:
- Remove them from their original containers and mix them with an undesirable substance, such as used coffee grounds or kitty litter.
- Place the mixture in a sealable bag, empty can, or other container to prevent the drug from leaking or breaking out of a garbage bag.
Some medications can be disposed of safely by flushing down the toilet, but, it is important to know which ones.
If the drug labeling/patient information instructs you to flush the medication or if it appears on the FDA list, flush it. If the medication does not appear on the FDA’s list and the drug labeling/patient information does not specifically instruct you to do so, do not flush it. Learn more from the FDA.
Other tips before throwing out a medicine container:
- Remove/scratch out all identifying information on the prescription label to make it unreadable.
- Do not give your medicine to friends. A medicine that works for you could be dangerous for someone else.
- When in doubt about proper disposal, talk to your pharmacist.