Dear Kuzak’s Closet

I recently remodeled my bathroom.  When I took everything out of the cabinets I noticed I had a lot of old medication that I don’t need anymore.  What are safe options for disposing of my old pills?  I don’t want them to get into the wrong hands.

Thanks,
Peggy

There are a lot of options for disposing your old medications safely and securely.  I did some online research and here is what I found out.  Thanks for the question Peggy, I am sure many of my readers have wondered what to do with their old pills too.

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Check the instructions. Sometimes they’ll provide guidance as to what’s the best way to dispose of that particular medication.  If you don’t have the instructions, see if you can find them online, or call the company that manufactures the drug to ask.

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Don’t flush! Sending the medication into the water supply is not a good idea, especially if you have a septic system – drugs can get into the water table and turn up in nearby lakes or streams, and even on your own property.   

Find out about disposal options in your area.

  • Call a local pharmacy to find out if they can dispose of your medication. In some states, although not all, they have an unused medication disposal program that the pharmacies themselves may use to dispose of outdated medicatons.
  • Call your local trash service – they might have household waste facilities that will incinerate the medication.
  • Contact your local Hospital or Medical Center who will place unused medications into their Bio Hazard containers for incineration. All Hospitals have this option so there is never a need to toss or flush unused medication. 

If your only option is to throw the medication in the trash, then do everything you can to make sure it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Not only is this a concern if people might pick through your trash (whether in your neighborhood, or at a landfill, or anywhere in between) but it is also dangerous for children, pets, and wild animals.

  • Take pills out of containers so people don’t know what they are.
  • Mix the pills with undesirable substances, like kitty litter.
  • If the medication is liquid, mix it with sawdust or flour.