Safely Securing and Disposing of Medications

Safely securing and disposing of unused or expired medications eliminates an unnecessary risk in the home, especially if children are present.

Safely Securing Prescription Medications

  • Never share medications with family members or friends.
  • If guests will be in your home, place prescription medications in a medication lockbox.
  • Keep all medications out of reach of children at all times.

Safe Disposal of Medications – Prescription and Over-the-Counter

  • Before disposing of empty medication containers, remove all personal information on the pharmacy labels and packaging.
  • Never flush unused or expired medications down the toilet or sink drain unless you have no access to an authorized collection site. The FDA provides a list of prescription medications that can and cannot be flushed, as well as a medication disposal question and answer section on their website.
  • Do not put medications in the garbage, even if mixed with used kitty litter or coffee grounds.
  • Take unused medications to your local pharmacy or specialty pharmacy, so they can be disposed of safely. Your local police department may also accept prescription medications on special collection days. Contact them for more information. All medications dropped off at take back locations will be destroyed.
  • Collection sites may offer on-site medicine drop-off boxes or mail back programs.
  • For an authorized drug collection site near you, contact the DEA Diversion Control Division call center at: 1-800-882-9539. Or visit the DEA website.

Donating Unused Medications

Donating unused or unexpired medications is available in some states through state prescription drug repository programs. You can also contact SIRUM, an organization that specializes in assisting with drug donations and national drug donation laws.

Medications, prescription or over-the-counter, can help us heal from an illness or injury; relieve symptoms or pain caused by many medical conditions. Safely storing those medications and then responsibly disposing of them when they are no longer needed eliminates a dangerous risk in the home, especially when children are present. And is an important part of safely managing medications.