Safe Medication Disposal
Prescription drugs are only safe when used correctly by the person they were prescribed to. Taking medication that is not prescribed to you is very dangerous. Taking medication that didn’t come from a pharmacy can be deadly. If it’s not prescribed to you, and you don’t know the source—IT’S NOT SAFE.
Unused or expired prescription drugs can be dangerous, especially for children, teens, and even pets. Misused medication can lead to accidental overdose or addiction. Here are some ways to safely dispose of medication:
How to Safely Dispose Medication
Letting your unused or expired medication lay around the house can be dangerous. When you’re done using a medication, dispose it safely using one of the methods below.
1. Drop Off at a Take-Back Location
Many take back locations like pharmacies and police stations accept unused or expired medications year-round. If you can’t find a take back location near you, request a FREE DisposeRx packet.
Find take back locations in your area:
Ellsworth Air Force Base
2. DisposeRx Packets
DisposeRx packets contain an FDA-approved ingredient that chemically and physically neutralizes the drugs when mixed with water. It can be used with pills, tablets, capsules, liquids and powders and thrown away safely at home. Order a FREE DisposeRx packet that is mailed directly to you.
3. Ask Your Pharmacy About Their Safe Disposal Program
Many pharmacies have medication disposal kiosks on-site or a program for the safe disposal of unused or expired prescription medication.
4. Flush (or Not)
If you cannot dispose of your unused or expired medication using DisposeRx, there are medications that are safe to flush in your toilet—and some that are not. If you do not see your medication listed in the chart below or on the FDA’s Flush List it is NOT SAFE to flush and can can be hazardous to the environment or contaminate the water supply.
Remember: the safest option is to find a take back location near you to dispose of unused or expired medication or use a DisposeRx packet. If you choose to flush medication, be sure to only flush medication on the flush list.
Flush-Safe Medications that Contain Opioids
Any drug that contains the word “buprenorphine”
Any drug that contains the word “morphine”
- Arymo ER
- Morphabond ER
- MS Contin
- Oramorph SR
Any drug that contains the word “fentanyl”
Any drug that contains the word “oxycodone”
- Oxadydo (formally Oxecta)
- Targiniq ER
- Troxyca ER
- Xartemis XR
- Xtampza ER
Any drug that contains the word “hydrocodone” or “benzhydrocodone”
- Hysingla Er
- Vicodin ES
- Vicodin HP
- Zohydro ER
Any drug that contains the word “hydromorphone”
Any drug that contains the word “oxymorphone”
- Opana ER
Any drug that contains the word “meperidine”
Any drug that contains the word “tapentadol”
- Nucynta ER
Any drug that contains the word “methadone”
Flush-Safe Medications that do NOT contain Opioids
Any drug that contains the word “sodium oxybatel” or “sodium oxybates”
Diazepam rectal gel
- Diastat acudial
Methylphenidate transdermal system
5. Throw Away in the Trash
If your medication isn’t listed on the FDA’s Flush List AND a take-back program or method is not available, you can throw them away in your household trash.
Follow these steps to safely throw your medication away in the trash:
- Remove the drugs from their original containers and mix them with something undesirable, such as used coffee
grounds, dirt, or cat litter. This makes the medicine less appealing to children and pets and unrecognizable to
someone who might intentionally go through the trash looking for drugs.
- Put the mixture in something you can close (a re-sealable zipper storage bag, empty can, or other container) to
prevent the drug from leaking or spilling out.
- Throw the container in the garbage.
- Scratch out all your personal information on the empty medicine packaging to protect your identity and privacy.
Throw the packaging away.