Improper disposal of unused and expired medicines has consequences on both human health and the environment. That is why a lot of medical professionals and even the government do community programs to encourage people to dispose of their unused medicines properly.
Overdosing, poisoning, abuse can be caused by improper medicine disposal. Thus, we need to be responsible for the proper disposal of our medicines.
Let’s admit it. Cleaning out our medicine cabinet or storage is not at the top of our list, but it should be done once in a while for our families to be safe.
As soon as you see that the medicine is already expired or the elements contaminate its packaging, you need to dispose of them properly. That said, there are some ways for you to properly dispose of them without doing any harm to anyone or the environment. Here are some general tips you should learn to dispose of expired or unusable medicine properly. Also Read – Holistic Approaches for Drug Addiction Recovery
Ask Your Doctor
Depending on your condition, doctors will prescribe you controlled substances for your medication, one you can even buy with coupons from sites such as BuzzRx. One good example of this is opioids. These drugs are addictive and usually come with special instructions to properly dispose of them. In fact, most doctors who prescribe this kind of medication require you to bring back the extra medicine to them if you aren’t sure of how to dispose of them correctly or if you don’t outright need them anymore.
Not only that, but doctors also do this to avoid the patients getting addicted and is a way of determining if the patient is using them outside of medicinal reasons.
If you’re not sure, you can ask your doctor if what they are prescribing is a controlled substance, and if it is, you can ask for pointers on how you can dispose of them properly. Or you can ask them if you can take back the extra medicine so they can dispose of it themselves.
Put Them in the Trash
Simple, isn’t it? However, this method is only applicable to a limited kind of drugs such as cream, pills, patches, liquids, drops, etc. These kinds of drugs are safe enough to be disposed of in the trash, so you don’t have to worry about them. However, if you’re still nervous about it, you can take specific steps to ensure that you have disposed of them properly.
The first thing you can do is remove them from their containers and mix them with undesirable substances like coffee grounds or even dirt, making them unappealing for toddlers or people looking for them in the trash. The next thing you have to do is put them into something airtight, whether it be a ziplock bag, empty cans, etc. After that you can then throw them in the garbage can.
Drug Disposal Programs
Most local governments have drug take-back programs where people are encouraged to dispose of their unused or expired medicines in bins and disposal facilities run by the government or private institutions. Some pharmacies even have their drug disposal programs where people can mail their unused medications or put them in a dropbox in their local branches so the pharmacies themselves can dispose of the meds properly.
Not only that, but there are also products that, when mixed with pills and other types of substances, will turn them into a solid material that can be safely put in the trash bin, and this product can be bought from a pharmacy. Suppose you don’t know where to find these dropboxes or facilities for drug disposal in your area.
In that case, you can visit The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy or the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration online as they have a long list of branches and facilities that can be located near you.
Not only that, but you can also visit your local law enforcement agencies and directly ask them if they are running drug take-back programs and events near your location. Also, it’s worth noting that the DEA sponsors a yearly event called National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, which your local agencies and communities can support.
Read the Prescription Patient Information Leaflet
Many drugs can be easily disposed of in homes, and the FDA also has a long list of meds that are categorized as safe to be put in the trash. What’s easier is that you can check the patient information attached to your medication bag. This bag contains information on how to dispose of your medicine when you have an excess.
For example, you just bought Azor, which is prescribed for you by the doctor. However, you feel that there will be some excess on the dosage and you want to know how you can dispose of them when the situation arises. In that case, you can see the information attached to your bag on how to deal with the excess medicine.
Something to Ponder
There are many ways for us to dispose of our unused meds properly, and probably the easiest one is to dump them in the trash. However, this might not be a good idea as our meds’ improper disposal can have consequences on other people and the environment. It never hurts to research how to dispose of our medicines properly, so we might as well do it.