What Should You Do With Your Unused Meds?Last Updated: Thursday, June 24, 2021
Most people who misuse prescription drugs get them from family, friends, and acquaintances. You can make a difference by keeping track of the medicine you have, by rethinking where and how you keep your medications in your home, and by safely disposing of any unused medications.
Keep track of your legally prescribed controlled substances – that is, count your pills so you always know how much you should have and so you know when to take action if any go missing. With controlled substances, sharing is NOT caring. You could be putting your loved ones at risk, and unintentionally contribute to drug misuse, drug addiction, or a fatal drug overdose.
Everyone knows to keep medicine “out of the reach of children” but once your children become teens, there’s a good chance they can “reach” all medicines in your home and they know exactly where you keep what. Many people keep their medicine in easy to reach, easy to access cupboards, medicine cabinets, drawers, etc. So put your medicine somewhere that only you can easily find and access. Lock it up if you can. This will keep your medicine from unintentionally ending up in the wrong hands and just may save someone’s life!
Safely Dispose of Unused or Expired Meds
Safe Disposal at Home – Check out the resources below for information on how to safely dispose of your medication.
- DEA brochure: The Drug Enforcement Administration provides guidance on the right way to dispose of unused medicine in this PDF.
- Food and Drug Administration (FDA): This webpage lists options and instructions you can refer to when disposing of expired, unwanted, or unused medicines.
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):
Year-Round Drop Boxes Near You – You can search for permanent drop boxes near you at the sites below (be sure to call the location before trying to drop off your medication in case they have discontinued service).
- DEA's Diversion Controlled Substance Public Disposal locator
- National Association of Boards of Pharmacy's Drug Disposal Locator Tool