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DEA’s Collection Site Locator for Take Back Day Is Now Available

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. Examples may be found by clicking on Get Local and selecting a state.

Option 2: Take them to a participating collection site during Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day events. 

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.

Storing Unused Medications

Store your medications as instructed by the pharmacist and keep them in their original containers. Place them in a safe place away from heat, moisture, or freezing temperatures, and away from where food is stored. The bathroom cabinet is not the best place for medications. Safe places might be in a linen closet or dresser drawer. Be sure to store them out of sight and reach of children. You may want to lock your medications in a cupboard or a medicine safe, especially to avoid unintentional use or misuse by family or visitors to your home.