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Safe Medicine Disposal

Medicines treat many diseases and health problems. However, when medicines expire or are no longer needed, it's important to get rid of them in the correct way. This is especially true when children and pets are in the home.

Here are some ways that poison centers and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommend that you dispose of expired or unneeded medicines. If you have questions, call the free national Poison Help number at 1-800-222-1222.

Safe disposal of medications

  • Medication disposal drop box, collection site or take-back event: These options are the best way to get rid of expired, unwanted or unused medicines. To find a disposal location near you, call 1-800-222-1222 or visit the Diversion Control Division website, or rxdrugdropbox.org.

  • Drug disposal pouch: There are now products available that deactivate drugs in an environmentally friendly way while reducing the opportunity for abuse or misuse. These include drug deactivating pouches, pods and other products.

  • Household trashcan: To safely throw away unnecessary or expired medications, take pills out of their original containers and mix them with an undesirable substance such as kitty litter or coffee grounds. Put this mixture into a sealed bag and toss into the garbage.

  • Flushing: Some medicines should be safely disposed of by flushing down the sink or toilet. These drugs usually have instructions on the package that say they should be flushed as soon as they are no longer needed, or when they cannot be disposed of through a medication disposal drop box, collection site or take-back event.

    See the complete list of medications that should be flushed.

If you have questions about your medicine, have made a medication mistake, or need more information on how to safely dispose of your medications, call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

Prevent accidental poisonings

  • Safe use: Only take medications prescribed to you. Read and follow all dosing instructions precisely.

  • Safe storage: Keep all medications out of sight and in a safe and secure place.

  • Safe disposal: If you have unused or expired medications, be sure to remove them from your home.