Find Disposal Information

What to do with unused medications

Many homes end up with unwanted or expired prescription and over-the-counter medications. Old prescriptions left in medicine cabinets or elsewhere in the home can often be an easy source for those who would like to abuse prescription medications. They may also cause confusion for people who are already taking a large number of medications. Further, some medications, including fentanyl patches, should be properly disposed of by flushing to prevent accidental ingestion by children and pets.

You can help to prevent accidental or intentional use of these unwanted medications by getting rid of them safely. Learn more – click through the three options for medication disposal to find the appropriate method to protect your family.

Option 1: Take them to a local medication disposal program, police department drop-box, or local medication take-back event. Disposal locations may be found by using our locator tool.

On October 9, 2014, DEA released the final regulations to implement the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act. These regulations include a variety of disposal options for patients, including take-back events, mail-back programs, and collection receptacle locations. Included in these rules is the ability for pharmacies to be registered with DEA as collection sites for controlled substances. As state controlled substance laws vary, and DEA registrants need time to comply with the rule, please contact your pharmacy, law enforcement, municipality, or board of pharmacy to obtain state-specific information.

Read DEA’s fact sheet to learn more about the rule.

Option 2: DEA held its final National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on September 27, 2014.

Option 3: If neither of the above options are available, follow local or Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines for disposing of unwanted medications in the garbage or as instructed, depending on the product.

If you are still using your medications, click over to the Safe Storage page to learn how to store them safely.