myURGENCYMD’s Guide to Medicine Disposal – Take a moment to clean out your medicine cabinet and dispose of prescription drugs properly.

Person holds a handful of prescription pills.

myURGENCYMD’s Guide to Medicine Disposal – Take a moment to clean out your medicine cabinet and dispose of prescription drugs properly.

Start 2021 on a positive note with an organized, clean medicine cabinet. Now is a great time to go through your pill bottles and old prescriptions. 

What should I throw out?

First, get rid of over-the-counter medicines that are out of date. It might surprise you to see how long 

you’ve been holding onto that expired cold medicine or old allergy pills. 

Next, remove any prescription pills or drugs that are over a year old. 

If you have a prescription that you no longer take, like pain pills from a previous surgery, get rid of those as well.   

Make sure you dispose of your medications properly, though. Never dump them in your trash or hand them off to a family member or friend. 

Safely dispose of medications.

Did you know that the safest way to throw out opioids, psychiatric drugs, and other prescriptions is via a drug drop box? 

There are two different methods for this: permanent collection sites and periodic take-back events. 

More info and options for finding your drug take-back location: 

  • Drug drop boxes are often found in retail, hospital, or clinic pharmacies, as well as some law enforcement facilities. All medications deposited at these sites will be destroyed.

Flush list 101

If you are unable to find a drug disposal site in your area, please consult the FDA’s flush list to see if your medication should be flushed down the toilet. 

This short list comprises drugs that are frequently abused by people without a prescription, as well as drugs that could lead to death if accidentally or inappropriately taken. 

These guidelines are in place to protect any pets, children, or adults in your home. Please do not flush any other medication.

What about the environment?

Flushing medicine raises questions about the environmental impact and potential contamination of water.

The good news is that after conducting various studies and research, the FDA concluded that “these medicines present negligible risk to the environment.” 

They also state: “…the known risk of harm, including toxicity and death, to humans from accidental exposure to medicines on the flush list far outweighs any potential risk to human health and the environment from flushing these unused or expired medicines. Remember only flush medicines on the flush list if a take-back option is not readily available. FDA will continue to conduct risk assessments as a part of our larger activities related to the safe use and disposal of medicines.”

Now all your meds are up to date.

We hope having a more organized, clean medicine cabinet helps you feel rejuvenated and ready for whatever the new year brings!


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