What to Do with Old Med's?

Updated on June 18, 2013
T.L. asks from Cuba, MO
14 answers

I have several bottles of old medicine that I would really like to get rid of, but I have read no to flush it. How do you get rid of your old expired pills? I don't want to just throw it away for fear it would get into the wrong hands some how.


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answers from Columbia on

You can take it to a pharmacist. They will dispose of it with the rest of their medical waste.


You can take it to a pharmacist. They will dispose of it with the rest of their medical waste.

6 moms found this helpful

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answers from Norfolk on

Throwing them into the trash or flushing them is wrong.
No matter what you wrap them in (and wrapping them preserves them), the wrapping breaks down sooner or later and drugs get into the ground water - which is a HUGE problem.

"According to the USGS, over 80% of waterways tested in the United States show traces of common medications such as acetaminophen, hormones, blood pressure medicine, codeine, and antibiotics.".

It's another factor (besides the meat industry) which helps weaken antibiotics because the interaction where germs gain strength against them doesn't have to happen inside/on your body at all.

It's medical waste.
Call your Dr and see if he will dispose of it.
I had some left over syringes and progesterone oil from my IVF procedure.
My Dr was happy to dispose of them for me.
Medical waste needs to be incinerated.


3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Most pharmacy's have a disposal.

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answers from Austin on

Here in town, no one will on a regular basis take old meds for disposal. Instead you have to purchase special envelopes and send them to a company that will dispose of them.. It can be expensive if you have a lot.

The good news is that here in Town, they do have 2 days a year that they will accept all medication.. The call it "Take Back Day" One in the spring and another in the fall.

You are never to flush or throw away even over the counter meds.. or prescription meds. They are bad for our water and the earth.

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answers from Chicago on

Walgreens/CVS pharmacy departments have envelopes where you can mail them for proper disposal.

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answers from Phoenix on

Our local health departments do periodic collections. If you call your local, county, or state health department, they can point you in the right direction. Flushing meds is a huge source of contamination for our water, please do not do that!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

You can see if your city or a large one nearby has an environmental disposal place. Some police stations will take old Rx also. I think the EPA website has a way to search for somewhere near you.

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answers from Seattle on

Take it to a pharmacy.
Empty the unused pills into a trash can. NOT your/our water supply.
Recycle the plastic pill bottles :)
Everyone's happy!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Eugene on

When my dad passed away, the hospice nurse came to our house to dispose of all his meds, including morphine. She dumped everything into a coffee can and poured stuff like liquid dish soap and garbage over it so it couldn't be misused. Any old jar or can with a lid would do. We also wrapped the can in several plastic bags so the liquid couldn't ooze out, leech into the landfill and get into the ground water.



answers from Columbus on

Usually, I just crush them up and throw them in the garbage. But if you're not comfortable with that, you can call your pharmacist or court house. They both dispose of them here where I live; just depends on which is closer for you. My court house has a box right inside the door; I would take off the labels beforehand and just drop them in the box. It's very secure and they won't get in the wrong hands.

Either way, they're both very secure methods.

Good luck!!


answers from Houston on

Open the bottles and empty the pills into the trash. No one is going to go fishing for single pills.



answers from Chicago on

Call A Local Pharmacy. They Will Let You Know Of Programs In Your Area For Safe, Legal Disposal.



answers from Oklahoma City on

I flush most of it but if it's a controlled substance I ask the pharmacist.



answers from Kansas City on

This from Real Simple:

" Mix medications with coffee grounds and toss them in the trash. It turns out that the common practice of flushing pills down the toilet has a harmful effect on waterways and their ecosystems. Instead, mix most expired pills with coffee grounds, cat litter, or sawdust in a zippered plastic bag and throw it out with the garbage. This will keep them away from kids and pets and prevent harm to fish and other wildlife habitats. The exception? Highly addictive drugs, such as Percocet and OxyContin, which the Food and Drug Administration classifies as controlled substances. (Visit smarxtdisposal.net for a full list.) These should be flushed, to eliminate any chance of accidental ingestion."

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