Medication disposal

Pharmacies are prohibited by federal Drug Enforcement Agency rules from accepting unused, unneeded or expired prescription drugs.

Visit the FDA website for proper methods of disposing unused medicines.

Here are some suggestions from the Office of National Drug Control policy and SmartRXDisposal.net:

  • Take unused, unneeded, or expired prescription drugs out of their original containers and throw them in the trash. Mixing prescription drugs with an undesirable substance, such as used coffee grounds or kitty litter, and putting them in impermeable, non-descript containers, such as empty cans or sealable bags, will further ensure the drugs are not diverted.
  • Do not flush or pour unused medications down a sink, drain or toilet.
    • Please note that while the rule of thumb is not to flush, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has determined that certain medications should be flushed due to their abuse potential. Read the instructions on your medication and talk to your pharmacist.
  • Take advantage of community pharmaceutical take-back programs that allow the public to bring unused drugs to a central location for proper disposal. Your local health department may know if a program is being scheduled in your community. And Aurora offers them from time to time. Some communities have pharmaceutical take-back programs or community solid-waste programs that allow the public to bring unused drugs to a central location for proper disposal. Where these exist, they are a good way to dispose of unused pharmaceuticals.

Always refer to printed material accompanying your medication for specific instructions.