Dr. Ellen Middendorf
Medication disposal is an easy way to keep ourselves and loved ones safe. However, during spring cleaning, the medication cabinet is one section of the house we often miss. It can be years without thinking twice about what is in the far back corner of the medication cabinet, let alone if it has expired. Further, it allows us to safely dispose of medications that may be safe for some to take, but not others. Therefore, it is extremely important to go through our medications and dispose of any that are no longer being taken or have expired. By taking these simple steps, we can ensure a safer and healthier environment for everyone in our household.
What are safe and easy ways to dispose of medications?
- National Prescription Drug Take Back Day
- The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) sponsors these community events nationwide. This year’s event is on Saturday, October 23rd. Location announcements are coming soon.
- Year Round Pharmaceutical Disposal Locations
- These are collectors that are authorized by the DEA to provide year round public disposal of unwanted pharmaceuticals. Locations near you can be found at https://apps2.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/pubdispsearch/spring/main?execution=e2s1 or at https://safe.pharmacy/drug-disposal/
- Disposing Medications in Household Trash
- This can be a safe and effective method for destroying and disposing of medications, if done correctly. Follow the steps below for appropriate medication disposal in the household trash.
- Step 1: Remove the drugs from their original container and mix them in an undesirable substance. Common undesirable substances include coffee grounds, cat litter, or dirt.
- Step 2: Put the mixture in a sealable container (ie. zip lock bag, empty can, etc.) to prevent the drugs from spilling out.
- Step 3: Throw the sealed container in the garbage.
How do I dispose of sharps (ie. Insulin needles, lancets, etc.)?
- Put used sharps in a heavy-plastic or metal container. Examples include a sharps container or plastic detergent bottle
- When container is ¾ full, put the lid on and seal with duct tape.
- Label container as sharps
- Put container in the household trash. DO NOT RECYCLE!
With the above medication and sharps disposal techniques, we can ensure to maintain a safe environment for ourselves and loved ones. Additionally, when spring cleaning comes to mind, remember to include your medication cabinet in that list of chores. By doing so, you’ll not only create a clutter-free and organized space but also contribute to the overall safety and well-being of your household.