Disposing unused medication

<p>What is the best way to throw out unused narcotics? I had a medical procedure and painkillers are prescribed. It didn't hurt and after taking one pill, I am well. Do you just throw out the unused medication in the trash? Is that safe?</p>

<p>I looked this up once, and read that some pharmacies do take back medications for disposal as a public service. I do not recall the chain (CVS, maybe?) that was mentioned. Ask your local pharmacist. I now have a bagful I intend to return (concentrating them in one place is ill-advised, but I just got halfway through the process).</p>

<p>The advice used to be to flush them down the toilet, but much potable water now seems to be treated/reused, and apparently many water supplies have measurable amounts of anti-anxiety or anti-depressant medication (I forget which), as those molecules are not filtered out in the process.</p>

<p>Don’t flush!</p>

<p>Many communities have drug takeback programs. Our police department has one every once in a while, and they especially want to collect unused narcotics. You could call your local police and ask for the detectives that deal with narcotics cases and ask. Or, ask your pharmacist, as ItsJustSchool suggested. </p>

<p>In Los Angeles County, the Sheriff’s office had drug dropoffs are various substations – the one I used to dispose of MIL’s drugs was a repurposed US mailbox outside the sheriff’s substation, with a camera trained on it. </p>

<p>Mix with something nasty like coffee grounds, fish guts, or cat litter and toss in the garbage:</p>

<p><a href=“Disposal of Unused Medicines: What You Should Know | FDA”>http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/BuyingUsingMedicineSafely/EnsuringSafeUseofMedicine/SafeDisposalofMedicines/ucm186187.htm&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;



<p>I kept the unused painkiller locked up in my home safe until the police department’s take back day. call your local law enforcement and see if they have one scheduled.</p>

<p>BunsenBurner is exactly right if you want to get rid of it now or there is no legal alternative. arabrab is exactly right about not flushing. Medicine should not end up in your groundwater or a water supply accessible to wildlife.</p>

<p>I don’t think its safe to throw out with trash. It still ends up in groundwater.
<a href=“http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/hwtr/pharmaceuticals/pages/pie.html”>http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/hwtr/pharmaceuticals/pages/pie.html&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;

<p>Ask your pharmacy. Do not flush it or throw it out.</p>

<p>Lucky for me, I’m in pain a lot, so I keep extra around just in case. However, most people should not have to.</p>

<p>The pills themselves will be active for up to a year or even more, just tend to be less effective after that time.</p>

<p>I always keep those old Rx for emergencies. If someone has a tooth abscess etc., they are handy to have around. I also keep a kit for our camping, we are pretty far from civilization so it would be great to have the meds in case of emergency.</p>

<p>You can buy a mailing pouch at Walgreens that includes postage. Put the meds in the pouch (no liquids) and drop it in the mail. It goes back to Walgreens and they dispose of it. That’s what I do when it’s going to be a long time before the police department drop off day. </p>

<p>Isn’t Walgreens the company that dumped unredacted customer pharmaceutical records in the trash a few years ago?
<a href=“http://www.wthr.com/story/5693471/wthr-finds-prescription-privacy-problems-nationwide”>http://www.wthr.com/story/5693471/wthr-finds-prescription-privacy-problems-nationwide&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;

<p>I flush down the toilet which is what is said to be done with Narcotics. With what gets flushed down toilets, I’m not so concerned about adding what very little I might so dispose of. </p>

<p>I don’t even know what to say to someone who reasons that if others are doing it, it’s OK for them to do it too.
Some things that are found in the water supply can be filtered out or chemically removed.
Others like hormones and antibiotics are not.</p>

<p>@emeraldkity4, that is pretty scary. But you don’t put your return address or prescription bottle in the mailer, so there is no risk of the meds being tied back to you. Assuming, of course, you wear rubber gloves and are careful to leave no trace of DNA on the mailing pouch. And mail from outside of your own zip code. :slight_smile: </p>

<p>According to the FDA/gov site, that is what you are supposed to do with narcotics. There is a list of what they advise to be flushed. Some of those things are so highly desired by druggies that they’d sift through used cat litter to get them if they knew ther was a shot at it. And I don’t trust these give back sites. I’ know of a half dozen abuse cases in those off the top of my head. It’s truly a problem. So I do what is said. And, yes, I scrape off prescription labels too.</p>

<p>i’ve yet to put hormones and antibiotics in the water supply, but the thins that go down toilets… I don’t think that the pills are any issue. Not all that many being so flushed down. Any none narc pills can be just pitched, I would think </p>

<p>I guess I’ve never looked at it as problem I’ve flushed any narcotics, and I’ve never used up the ones I’ve ever gotten, and other stuff just goes in the general garbage.</p>

<p>When my son was on chem, any leftover things went in a special medical waste box that was picked up.</p>

<p>Is there any issue with keeping them in your house should you ever need them again for any reason? </p>

<p>I keep mine. My prescriptions are always something I might need to take before I can get into seeing my doctor. Neither H or S take any medications, except for the very rare occasion they need an anti-b and they take it for amount of days prescribed and there is nothing left. </p>

<p>Every pharmacist here will take back unused meds. Speak to your pharmacist.</p>

<p>Narcotics? You had better hide them Also, not a good idea to take without medical supervision. You have to know when to take, expiration dates, whether it 's a problem to take with certain conditions. The controlled substances are such for a reason. If everyone did this, there would a lot of issues of abuse, theft, misuse. </p>

<p>In my situation, we have access to nearby medical care, so I don’t stock pile or keep leftover meds unless it’s something that I discuss with the doctor. </p>

<p>On public forums, I try to abstain from saying to do things that are not the right thing to do for society as a whole. </p>

<p>The trend on this is definitely changing. Just over ten years ago, people wouldn’t think twice about flushing meds. Hopefully awareness campaigns have changed the tide on that. When I worked in hospice and a patient died at home, it was up to us to ‘waste’ the narcotics at the patient’s home. But they were mostly in liquid form, so we put it in either coffee grounds or cat litter and put it out with the garbage. </p>

<p>Our municipality offers a prescription medication ‘turn-in’ once or twice a year where you can take all your unused medications (nothing liquid) as well as expired OTC drugs and turn them in. This year I went through our medicine cabinet and pulled out a lot of stuff; I threw it all in one big plastic baggie and turned it in, without the bottles. </p>

<p>But I also know that most big pharmacy chains have envelopes you can purchase for returning unused meds. I no longer flush any meds at all (well, not directly!).</p>