How to Safely Dispose of Unused Drugs and Medications

Drugs and medications are used to treat a wide range of diseases and other conditions. Many of us end up with expired medication that we don’t know what to do with. When they are expired or no longer needed, they should be disposed of in a safe and proper manner which will prevent it from falling into the wrong hands.

Expired medication can often do far more harm than good. The good news is that there are a few techniques to safely dispose of unwanted medications.

Medication Take-Back Programs

This is one of the best and safest ways of disposing of expired or unused medications. There are some hospitals and chemists (pharmacists) that take part in these projects for the disposal of old medication. If you are unsure where to take unused or expired medications, you can contact your city or government’s household waste and recycling department.

They will normally be able to direct you to the correct place which will be able to safely dispose of your unused medications. This is normally the preferred method of disposal for them, because it prevents them from being used by people who should not be using them. If you are desperate to get rid of unused medication, you can ask your pharmacist if he would be willing to dispose of it.

Flushing your Old Medication

Flushing old medications down the drain or the toilet is another disposal method that is sometimes used. This method should only be used to dispose of small amounts of medication because of the fact that they can cause water pollution. There are many medications that could be harmful if taken by someone that they were not prescribed for. Some medications normally give specific instructions for safe disposal which can sometimes include flushing down the toilet.

The FDA is currently working in conjunction with other agencies and medicine manufacturers to come up with safer methods of disposal for unwanted medications.

Putting your Old Medication in the Trash

Many people are unaware of the consequences of dumping their unwanted medications in the trash. A lot of people are disposing of their medications in this way without giving it a second thought. This is not a recommended technique because there is no way of preventing the medication from getting in the wrong hands. Children, pets or other uninformed persons may end up trying to consume the medication which can have fatal consequences. The medication could also end up on a dump site which would result in them leaching into the soil and causing severe environmental pollution.

There are many concerns surrounding the proper disposal methods for unused and expired medication. By law, most types of medication should have a list of proper disposal methods on them that need to be adhered to. Drugs and Medications that can be flushed will normally pose little to no threat to the environment. It is always important to take responsibility for the safe disposal of all of your unused and expired medication.

Kevin Clarke

Kevin Clarke is a Pharmacist and currently runs - a consumer health website that provides information on many Drug Side Effects and Interactions .

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