It's important to get rid of expired or unused medicines, inhalers and epinephrine auto-injectors properly. There are several ways you can dispose of your medicines in a way that is safe and better for the environment.
Disposing of Over-the-Counter and Prescription Pills and Patches
Saturday, April 27, 2019, is National Drug Take Back Day. From 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. on that day, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) law enforcement agencies across the U.S. will collect expired, unused pills and patches, both prescription and over-the-counter (OTC), so they can be safely disposed.
To find an agency near you that is participating in National Drug Take Back Day, use the Collection Site Locator.
The agencies will only take OTC and prescription pills or patches. They cannot take needles, sharps or liquids. This includes liquid nebulizer medicine, epinephrine auto-injectors and inhalers.
Disposing of Epinephrine Auto-Injectors
To dispose of epinephrine auto-injectors or needles, visit safeneedledisposal.org. You can search by state to find where you can take these for safe disposal.
Disposing of Inhalers
To dispose of inhalers, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that you read "handling instructions on the labeling of inhalers and aerosol products. These products could be dangerous if punctured or thrown into a fire or incinerator. To properly dispose of these products and follow local regulations and laws, contact your trash and recycling facility."
Disposing of Liquids
Contact your pharmacy for instructions on how to dispose of liquid medicines, like children's antihistamines and nebulizer medicines. Some pharmacy chains, like Walgreens, have medicines drop boxes in select locations.
Disposing of OTC Medicines at Home
You can dispose of OTC medicines safely at home if you follow the right steps. According to knowyourotcs.org, follow these steps:
- Mix medicines with an unpleasant substance, like kitty litter or used coffee grounds. Do not crush tablets or capsules.
- Place the mix in a container, like a sealed plastic bag.
- Throw the container in your trash.
The FDA has more information on how to safely dispose of medicines.