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Patients should also be educated on how to safely dispose of medication to prevent misuse or abuse.

Medicine Take Back Programs

Medicine take-back programs for disposal are a good way to remove expired, unwanted, or unused medicines from the home and reduce the chance that others may accidentally take the medicine. Contact your city or county government's household trash and recycling service to see if there is a medicine take-back program in your community and learn about any special rules regarding which medicines can be taken back. You can also talk to your pharmacist to see if he or she knows of other medicine disposal programs in your area or visit the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration website for information on National Prescription Drug Take-Back Events Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving 

Disposal of Household Trash

  • Check the FDA website to ensure the medication can be disposed in the trash.
  • Mix medicines (do NOT crush tablets or capsules) with an unpalatable substance such as kitty litter or used coffee grounds;
  • Place the mixture in a container such as a sealed plastic bag; and
  • Throw the container in your household trash.
  • Before throwing out your empty pill bottle or other empty medicine packaging, remember to scratch out all information on the prescription label to make it unreadable.

Suggested Links

FDA Disposal of Unused Medicines: What You Should Know, Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving 

Talk About Prescriptions Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving 

State-by-State Listing of Take-Back Centers Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving 

Tips on Safe Storage and Disposal of Your Prescription Medicines Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving 

Prevent Unintentional Poisoning Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving , Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Click here to go to the Smart Disposal site. Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving