According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 9.9 million Americans misused controlled prescription drugs. The study shows that a majority of abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet. Additionally, there is evidence to suggest that 4 out of 5 new heroin users started out abusing prescription opioid pain relievers.
Because of these startling data, it is important to know how and where to dispose of unwanted or expired prescription drugs.
Never Flush or Drain
Prescription medications can be dangerous and contaminate our water supply if not disposed of properly.
Drug Take-Back Programs and Locations
Whenever possible, you should take your unused prescription drugs to a collection program or event. Drug Take-Back Days occur twice per year, once in April and once in October, and are community-based events where you can return your prescription medications at a number of participating locations. Outside of these special dates, many programs and local police departments and sheriff’s offices accept prescription drugs on a daily basis.
How to Dispose of Prescription Drugs at Home
If you are unable to travel or participate in a drug take-back program, you may dispose of your drugs at home. Remember, never flush or pour your prescription medications down the drain. To dispose of your prescription drugs at home:
- Mix the medication with an unappealing substance.
- Place the medication and unappealing substance in a sealed container.
- Throw the container into the household trash.
- Scratch out any personal information that may be listed on pill or drug bottles.