Is your medicine cabinet filled with expired prescriptions you no longer use?
Dispose of them safely to prevent accidental use of the drug by people for whom the medication is not prescribed. Proper disposal also prevents contamination of our waterways and soils. Recent United States Geological Survey studies have found traces of painkillers, estrogen, antidepressants, blood-pressure medicines, etc. in water samples from 30 states. Studies have linked hormone exposure to reproductive defects in fish, and environmental exposure to antibiotics to the development of drug-resistant germs.
Safe ways to dispose of your prescription medication:
- Wilmette Police Department. You can drop off in their original packaging but get rid of all identifying information first.
- The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency sponsors National Drug Take Back Days. The next one is Saturday, April 27th 2013. The Northfield Police Department will participate in the Prescription Drug Take Back Program by collecting unwanted, unused prescription drugs at the Police Department entrance, 350 Walnut Street (at the east end of the Village Hall) from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM
- Special envelopes sold at local pharmacies: Some CVS and Walgreens sell special- designed envelopes for mailing used medications to safe disposal facilities.
- Some doctors’ offices will take these medications back and dispose of them for you. Ask your doctor.
Given our local options, disposing of medications in the trash is not necessary. Only as a last resort, dispose of your unused pharmaceuticals in the trash. When doing this:
- render them unattractive to children and thieves by dissolving them in a small amount of water or alcohol, or by grinding them up and mixing them with coffee grounds or kitty litter; and
- put them in a second container or small plastic bag and hide them in your trash.
Flushing medication down the toilet is the least desirable of all alternatives. For many years people have gotten into the habit of flushing waste pharmaceuticals down the toilet or pouring them down the drain because it is quick and easy. However, wastewater treatment plants and septic systems are not designed to treat pharmaceutical waste.
If you have questions about disposing of your medicine, please contact the FDA at 1-888-INFO-FDA (1-888-463-6332).