Stop! Wait! Don’t flush your meds!

September 20, 2022

When flushed down the toilet or poured down the drain, medications can pollute our water and jeopardize public health by exposing people and wildlife to harmful chemicals. And according to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), your unwanted medication could end up lost, stolen, or misused. Be sure to safely dispose of your medications. You have several options for disposal.

Dispose at home

  1. Place them into a zippered bag.
  2. Pour in just enough hot water to dissolve the medications (over 110 degrees — or about as hot as coffee).
  3. Add an absorbent filler material, like cat litter, coffee grounds, soil, or tissue paper.
  4. Seal the bag.
  5. Place it in your waste collection cart or can.

Better yet: a drug take-back location

As an alternative to home disposal, there are medication drop boxes located at Walgreens pharmacies. According to Walgreens, they have installed more than 1,500 safe medication disposal kiosks in 46 states and Washington, D.C. Check here for a list of the medications they accept. You can also find the nearest kiosk by using the Walgreens store locator and selecting Filters > Pharmacy > Medication Disposal Kiosk.

Additionally, in April and October of each year, local police departments take part in the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Prescription Drug Take­back Day, a secure collection event for disposing of unused medications. Use the Collection Site Locator based on zip code to find the site nearest you. The fall collection date is coming up on Saturday, October 29.

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