Did you know that keeping those extra pain pills (or those antibiotics you ended up being allergic to, or those birth control pills you switched off of months ago) lying around isn’t exactly ideal? There are actually quite a few safety hazards related to unwanted/extra pharmaceuticals: drug abuse, poisoning, overdose, environmental problems…Plus you will likely want to clear out your medicine cabinet sooner or later, and may wonder the best way to dispose of these meds.
Here are some tips for safely ridding yourself of those pesky extra pills:
› DON’T FLUSH unless they are on this list from the FDA:
- Indiscriminate flushing may actually lead to environmental toxicity – scientists are finding much higher than expected levels of pharmaceuticals in lakes, rivers, and marine life, likely as a result of inappropriate drug disposal.
- Protect the fishies!
- And turtles! And FRAHWGS!
› Trash ’em? OK…BUT…
- First, make any leftover pills as unappealing as possible – shake them out of the bottle and mix them with gross trash like rotting food, old wet coffee grounds, and/or dirty kitty litter.
- Be sure they are not in a trash receptacle that is accessible to kids, pets, or
wildlife to avoid unintentional poisoning. Even something as simple as a few iron pills can be fatal to small children if accidentally ingested.
- Protect yourself: remove any and all identifying info from the bottle – this includes anything with the patient’s name, phone number, address, etc. – prior to recycling it (if possible) or throwing it away.
› Best bet? Bring them to your pharmacy for proper disposal (Call them first – not all pharmacies have the ability to take back your old prescription/non-prescription meds).
- Sometimes the pharmacy will want the label left on, and sometimes they will have you tear the label off before dropping them off. To be on the safe side, leave all labels on until/unless you’re told otherwise.
- You can bring them to Campus Health Pharmacy any time during business hours.
- *Due to DEA regulations, Campus Health Pharmacy is unable to accept controlled substances – however, look for specific events throughout the year for take-back of these items!*
› Bestest bet? Don’t forget community “drug take back” events!
- Keep an eye out for these events, which are often sponsored by the local police department, hospital, or pharmacy. These offer great opportunities to gather up all those old tubes, bottles, vials, jars, and boxes of meds you don’t need any longer and get rid of them all for good.
- See disposemymeds for an easy way to find these events in your neck of the woods.
- Come find Campus Health during the move-out events around campus at the end of the spring semesters – we’ll be here to collect up any meds you find under that 3 month old pile of dirty laundry you finally had to pick up in order to pack.
Now, go forth and clean out that medicine cabinet! And stay tuned for more medication safety tips…