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How to Safely Dispose of Old Medication

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It’s all too easy to throw our leftover, unwanted medications straight into the trash can. It does seem like the most logical option, but unfortunately this isn’t the best way to dispose of drugs you no longer need.

There is a risk of endangering people and animals when drugs are not disposed of properly. Kids and pets could get to it at home, and it can put wildlife at risk once it’s been removed. So what do we need to know about how to safely dispose of old medication?

Can we flush medication down the toilet?

Flushing drugs down the toilet can be hazardous if they make their way into our water supply. Water plants are specialized in getting rid of bacteria but are not necessarily effective in removing the chemicals found in medications. It can also cause ecological harm. Nonetheless, the FDA advises flushing certain medications down the toilet that would otherwise pose a risk to those around. Flushing them down the toilet means they are immediately inaccessible. Some drugs are fatal when ingested and so it is better to get rid of them quickly rather than keeping them accessible to other people.

The best way to dispose of medication

The best thing to do is to check each medication; it is normally written on the box how best to dispose any that you have leftover. The most responsible thing you can do is use a take-back or return program. It is completely free of charge. Many pharmacies have a collection point where you can leave unused or expired medications and you don’t even need to return them back to the place you got them. Simply remove the labels and dispose of unwanted medication at your local pharmacy. This will ensure it is being disposed of in a safe way. In the meantime, you need to make sure any medication is completely out of your children’s or pets’ reach.

What if you don’t have access to a take-back or return program?

If you don’t have access to a pharmacy which can dispose of your medication for you, make sure you follow these steps, according to SmaRxt Disposal.

  • Put the medication into a sealable bag. And if it’s in solid form such as a pill, add water to dissolve it.
  • Add any material into it like sawdust or even coffee granules to make it look unappealing to kids and animals into the plastic bag.
  • Seal the bag and place it into the trash
  • Make sure to always remove identifying information from the prescription label

It is really important to follow these guidelines in order to prevent accidental harm to others and to keep our water supply clean. Additionally, most opioid abuse begins by misusing a prescription from someone else such as family and friends. People tend to have a lot of prescription and over the counter medications lying around the house and it is easy for someone else to abuse them. So, not only is it important to dispose of medication quickly – don’t keep it for the “just in case” – you need to make sure you also dispose of it safely.

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