How to dispose of prescriptions safely

Writer: Rachel Murphy
Published: Updated:
thermometer on medical pills
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As National Prescription Drug Take Back Day approaches, here are some ways to remove old or unused prescriptions safely.

According to Florida Health, flushing outdated medications down the drain or toilet isn’t always the answer. This can have harmful effects on the environment unless the label says it’s safe to do so.

Here are some things to keep in mind with pill-based medications:

  • Always keep prescriptions in their original container. If they are accidentally used, this will help identify what the medication is.
  • Scribble out your name and prescription number on bottles or containers for safety.
  • You can add water or soda to a container to dissolve the contents.

Florida Health also provided suggestions on liquid-based medications:

  • Add something inedible such as cat litter or dirt to prevent someone from using it.
  • Close the bottle and secure it shut with duct tape.
  • Place the prescription bottle inside another non-see-through container, such as a coffee can.

It is illegal for a doctor, pharmacy or hospital to take back drugs that have already been prescribed.

Community drug take-back programs are also a safe way to dispose of prescriptions. Collier County Sheriff’s Office is holding a free ‘take back’ event on Oct. 28 at the Collier County Sheriff’s Administration Building from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Click here for a list of places in Florida where you can also get rid of prescriptions.

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