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Pharmaceuticals and Medications

Medication and Pharmaceutical Disposal
There are two options locally for safely disposing of your old medications and pharmaceuticals.

Option 1: Make Undesirable and Place in Trash
Please dispose of your unused pharmaceuticals in the trash. Especially when there is a risk of accidental poisoning, overdose or diversion, it is better to dispose of household pharmaceuticals than to hang onto them. When placing unused pharmaceuticals in the trash, be sure to do the following:
  • Remove or mark over all labels that identify the materials as pharmaceuticals or that could provide personal information about you, including prescription information that someone could try to refill;
  • Render them unattractive to children and thieves by grinding them up and mixing them with coffee grounds or kitty litter; and
  • Put them in a second container or small plastic bag and and hide them in your trash.
  • Never burn pharmaceuticals or personal care products in a burn barrel. Uncontrolled burning can create dioxins and other air pollutants.

Option 2: Take Back to a Pharmacy

Bring unwanted and expired medicines into a participating TakeAway pharmacy. Call your pharmacy to inquire about participation before bringing old medications for drop-off. If old medications are accepted, the pharmacist will dispose of the returned medications into a TakeAway system, a waste bin specially designed to safely store discarded pharmaceutical products along with their packaging. View a list of acceptable and unacceptable material.

Once filled, the TakeAway system is sealed and shipped to a medication disposal facility where the entire TakeAway system and its contents are incinerated. This ensures unused and expired pharmaceuticals do not enter water supplies. In addition, the incineration facility used by the TakeAway program employs a waste-to-energy incineration process—meaning the energy produced by incineration is harnessed into electricity. For more information, visit the TakeAway Website, www.iarx.org/TakeAway.

Never burn pharmaceuticals or personal care products in a burn barrel. Uncontrolled burning can create dioxins and other air pollutants.

There are several reasons for proper disposal of old medications:

  • Studies have shown that flushing medications can contaminate groundwater, pollute waterways and harm wildlife.
  • Some teens and adults abuse drugs. In a recent survey 64 percent of teens that abused pain relievers said they got them from a friend or family member.
  • Medications can be confused for other things and cause accidental poisonings or mid-medications.



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