You can help prevent accidental poisoning of children and family members by properly removing medicine from your home. Doing so can help reduce medication abuse and drug diversion.
Proper medication disposal also helps the environment. Studies have found prescription drugs—antibiotics, hormones and cardiac medications—in our nation’s waterways. Water treatment plants cannot remove drug compounds before they reach the environment. Flushing unused medications down the toilet is part of the problem. It’s also something we can control.
Take expired or unwanted medications to an approved medication disposal site in your community. Call your local health department or other government agency to find the locations. To find a site near you, visit:
DEA's National Take Back Initiative
Walgreens Medication Disposal Kiosks
Cook County Sheriff’s Prescription Drug Take Back Program
City of Chicago Pharmaceutical Disposal Sites
If a medication disposal program is not available in the area, the unwanted or expired medicine may be thrown away in the trash:
Be sure medicines placed in the trash are inaccessible. This will minimize the chance of accidental poisoning of children and pets.
Only flush medications down the toilet if their label specifically instructs you to do so. You can also see a list of drugs that can flushed from the FDA.
Remember, proper medication disposal helps prevent accidental or intentional misuse that can cause harm.