Dispose Medicine Properly – A How-to Guide.
One New Year’s resolution never gets old: to clear out the old stuff to make room for the new stuff. That includes the need to dispose medicine properly. A good place to start is in your medicine cabinet where you can dispose of the items which have reached their expiration date. Look at the prescription medicine bottles there first. The date you received the prescription is on the label.
In particular, antibiotics you are no longer taking should be discarded. Antibiotic medications are effective for the prescribed course of treatment which is usually 10 to 14 days. After that, they are not effective.
Non-prescription medications also have expiration dates. You may have to look closely or get a magnifying glass to find the date on the bottom, the lid, or the label. If they are more than two years old, they are no longer potent.
Make-up and skin care products also have expiration dates. Once make-up is opened and exposed to air and light, the substance has a limited time frame for use. Old skin care products can become tainted with bacteria, so if you haven’t used them in a year, throw it out.
See if your local household hazardous-waste collection program accepts expired or unused medicines. Check to see if your pharmacy has a drug recycling program. To help dispose of unused medications properly; the National Community Pharmacists Association has launched a “Dispose My Meds” campaign. Bring the drugs to a participating pharmacy, and it will send them to a medical-waste-disposal facility. Instead of putting them in the trash which winds up in the landfill and possibly a water supply, find a local drop-off center on this Medication Disposal Locator.
If you can’t find another way to dispose of medicines, you can put most of them into regular trash disposal. Most medicines can be mixed with your coffee grounds, placed in a bag, and put into the trash. Mixing the medicine with coffee grounds makes it less likely that pets, children, or others would consume the pills if they found them.
Some medications can be flushed down the toilet. See the list of medications which are acceptable to flush at the Food and Drug Administration.
Used needles should be disposed of in FDA-cleared sharps containers, which are available through pharmacies, medical supply companies, health care providers and online. These containers and lids are made of puncture-resistant plastic with leak-resistant sides and bottom.
If this kind of container is not available, you could use a heavy-duty plastic household container. You could use a laundry detergent container and put it in the trash.
Read the Label.
When you are discarding medication bottles, be sure to mark out your name and address, and the prescription number on the labels. Do this to protect your identity and to prevent others from using your name and number to obtain a prescription fraudulently, if they should find the bottles.
Your medications, particularly your prescription medications, are expensive and valuable for your health. So take the time to make sure that the meds you take are maintained safely and securely.
And always remember – dispose medicine properly.