Medication Disposal in Your Community

There are places in your community to safely get rid of old and unused medication.

Medication Disposal at Home

Throw medications in the trash.

When medication cannot be taken to a DEA disposal site, you can get rid of your medications at home.

To properly dispose of medications you can:

  • Use drug disposal packets.
    • Packets are available at local pharmacies and health departments.
  • Prepare medications to be thrown in the trash.
    • Take medication out of original container.
    • Remove or scratch out personal information from the medication container.
    • Throw away the container.
    • Mix medications with coffee grounds, dirt, sawdust, or kitty litter.
    • Place the mixture in a leak-proof, heavy duty, plastic container with a tight fitting lid.
    • Throw the container in the garbage.

Use an FDA approved sharps container.

Get rid of injectable medications and supplies in a sharps container.

  • Contact your pharmacy if you need a sharps container.
  • Do not overfill your sharps container.
  • Follow your community guidelines for sharps container disposal.
  • Call Safe Needle Disposal at 1-800-643-1643.

What items can I put in my sharps container?

  • All needles
  • Lancets or “fingerstick” devices
  • Syringes with needles
  • Pre-filled auto-injectors and pens
  • Vial containing an injectable medication

Flush medications down the toilet.

Some medications can be flushed down the toilet if:

Why Should I Get Rid of My Expired or Unused Medications?

Correct disposal of unused and expired prescription and over the counter medications can help:

  • Avoid accidental exposure.
  • Prevent teen drug abuse.
  • Protect the environment.

Studies show most misused prescription drugs are often taken from the home medicine cabinet of family and friends. To keep your family and your home safe, check your medicine cabinet regularly. Get rid of unused and expired medications.

Throw out Medications When:

  • Medication is left after a prescription change.
  • Medication is left after a procedure or surgery.
  • Medication is left after a death.
  • Medication is expired.

Why can’t Cincinnati Children’s take back expired and unused medications?

It is against the law for us to take back expired and unused medications.

For additional help, contact the Drug and Poison Information Center at 513-636-5111 or toll-free at 1-800-222-1222.