Have you ever found expired medicine in your home? Do you have prescription medications that you never finished? If you said yes to either of these questions, then you will need to dispose of these medications, so they aren’t accidentally ingested or used. However, many people are unsure how to do this properly, and as it turns out, flushing medications down the sink or the toilet isn’t always the safest option.
However, there are proper medication disposal methods that are safe for you and your family and are also recommended by the FDA. Learning how to dispose of medication properly is one of the easiest ways of going green at home, too. Here are three easy ways you can practice proper medication disposal:
1. Flush them… sometimes. Some medications can be flushed down the drain, but it’s important to know which ones. You can ask your pharmacist whether or not the medications and over-the-counter medicines you have can be flushed, or you can check the FDA’s website for tips on how to properly dispose of these medicines. Only certain medicines can be flushed because some can pose a danger if they enter waterways. If you have a type of pill that can’t be flushed, however, there are two other methods you can use.
2. Use caution when throwing medicines away. Some medicines can also be placed in the trash. However, in order to avoid accidental ingestion by a child or animal, it’s important to follow a few precautionary steps before tossing those medicines in the garbage. The first step is to grind the medicine up into a powder or as close to it as possible. After that, place what’s left of the medicine into an unpalatable substance, like coffee grounds or cat litter. Place the mixture into a sealed plastic bag, and it’s safe to throw away.
3. Participate in a medicine take-back program. Finally, some pharmacies, doctor’s offices, and government agencies (like the DEA) will hold medicine take-back programs in order to recycle old medicines. These programs are especially useful for safe pharmaceutical disposal if you have prescription medications. Because some medicines count as controlled substances, it’s important to dispose of them properly whether they are expired or not.
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