Many people hang on to expired prescriptions or medications that are no longer needed. If you’re one of them and your medicine cabinet contains old prescriptions, it’s important to know how to dispose of them properly. Unused, unwanted and expired drugs can create an opportunity for misuse by someone else. Also, it might tempt family members to diagnose and treat themselves with something that’s in the home already. Proper disposal is also important because it protects the environment.
Storing outdated medications in the home can create vulnerable situations. In the United States, prescription drug abuse numbers are increasing at an alarming rate. This also applies to the statistics for inadvertent overdoses and accidental poisonings. Government agencies of all levels advise that getting rid of prescription drugs via municipal waste programs threatens the environment because they often end up in the local water supply.
Until you’re ready to get rid of medications, they need to be stored securely. When they’re no longer needed, the most effective way to correctly dispose of medicines is to take them to an official collection place. The pharmacy fulfills this need with its year-round availability of MedDrop™ boxes. They’re easy to use, anonymous and convenient.
These containers comply with the rules enforced by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The boxes can receive prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications, including ointments, patches and even pet medicines. While you can use them to dispose of controlled substances, there are some exclusions: These units can’t accommodate medical or commercial waste, illicit drugs, needles and aerosols.
Twice a year, in April and October, the DEA implements National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. The goal is to inform the public about the potentials of drug abuse while providing safe ways for disposal of unnecessary medications.