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What is the best way to dispose of expired prescription drugs?

By September 3, 2008 - 11:04am
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I am cleaning out my medicine cabinet and drawers and want to know the best way to get rid of my expired prescription drugs. With the drugs in the water story from a few months back, I don't think dumping them in the water system is the best way to go. But putting them in the garbage doesn't seem that safe either. Any one know of the best way to go about this?

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You're wise to question the best methods for disposing of expired prescription drugs - for that matter, even OTC drugs. The Office of National Drug Control Policy published these Federal Guidelines:

  • Take unused, unneeded, or expired prescription drugs out of their original containers and throw them in the trash.
  • Mixing prescription drugs with an undesirable substance, such as used coffee grounds or kitty litter, and putting them in impermeable, non-descript containers, such as empty cans or sealable bags, will further ensure the drugs are not diverted.
  • Flush prescription drugs down the toilet only if the label or accompanying patient information specifically instructs doing so.
  • Take advantage of community pharmaceutical take-back programs that allow the public to bring unused drugs to a central location for proper disposal. Some communities have pharmaceutical take-back programs or community solid-waste programs that allow the public to bring unused drugs to a central location for proper disposal. Where these exist, they are a good way to dispose of unused pharmaceuticals.
September 3, 2008 - 5:12pm
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