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Last week, while searching for a bottle of nasal spray, I realized that I hadn’t cleaned out my medicine cabinet in almost a year. I attempt to clean the cabinet out yearly (at a minimum), but time passes so quickly that I can’t remember the last time that I did so. When a quick rummaging revealed several expired medications, I realized that I needed to clean out the medicine cabinet ASAP!
Cleaning out the medicine cabinet is necessary for a few reasons.
- Discard expired medications.
- Organize medications.
- Evaluate what medications I need for upcoming allergy seasons or cold and flu seasons.
- Make sure that all medications are out of the reach of children.
My children are getting older, and we have had the discussion with them about never digesting any medication or even going into the medicine cabinet without mom or dad. We keep medications on a high shelf, but one of my boys gave me a scare last week when he climbed up the counter and went into the top shelf of the medicine cabinet for a honey throat lozenge to soothe his cough. I was in another room helping his brother with his homework, and I know that my son meant well in trying to do an independent task, but it was a wake up call for me! The kids may be older, but that does not mean that I need to be any less vigilant about the safety and organization of the medicine cabinet. I set to work right away to organize and find another secure location for all of our medications, as well as dispose of any that we no longer needed or that were expired.
But once the medications are out of the cabinet, what should become of them then?
In speaking with friends and family, I’ve discovered that how to safely dispose of medication is a common question that many people have. However, it is important for over-the-counter and prescription medication to be disposed of properly. In our home, we typically only have over-the-counter medication, but with a recent surgery of my husband’s, we also had some unused prescription medication that I needed to toss. The best way to safely dispose of any type of medication is to take it to a proper drug receptacle. Throwing medication in the trash, flushing down the toilet, or pouring down the drain are not safe means of disposing of medication. Consider these factors:
- Medications poured into our water supply or tossed in landfills can cause damage to our environment.
- 46 million Americans are exposed to trace amounts of medications in their drinking water. *via Associated Press
- Tossed or unsecured medications may be found and abused by others.
- According to Drug Abuse.gov, 18 million people in the U.S. over the age of 12 have misused medications at least once in the past year.
- 83% of people who misuse prescription pain relievers including opioids get them from a friend or relative. *via SAMSHSA.gov
Knowing that children as young as 12 have misused medications is heart breaking! As a community, it is imperative that we do a better job of disposing of all types of medication.
Of course, this leaves us with the question of “Where do we find a drug disposal receptacle?“.
The LifeInCheck Consumer Drug Take-Back Program wants to ensure that we all have a safe place to properly dispose of medication. LifeInCheck Consumer Drug Take-Back receptacles are available around the United States for drug disposal.
When visiting a LifeInCheck Consumer Drug Take-Back receptacle, you’ll notice that it is quite easy to use. Open the receptacle drawer, place medications inside, and close the drawer to safely dispose of them.
Most medications are accepted in the LifeInCheck Consumer Drug Take-Back receptacle, but you may view their website to view the exact types of medications that may be disposed in the receptacle, as well as locate a nearby LifeInCheck Consumer Drug Take-Back receptacle.
Alli Smith says
I recently went through all my meds and got rid of all the out-of-date ones. I’m glad you shared how to dispose of meds properly.
I need to find one of these places. I have a bunch of prescriptions that I did not finish that I need to throw out. I will see if I can find one around town.
Flushing down toilet isn’t safe at all. Disposable bins like you showed are the very best way to get rid of old medicine
Melissa Chapman says
I know I have a few old prescriptions lying around and that is a safe way to dispose of them. It is so smart to protect your family and the environment by going to the pharmacy that takes them.
Amber Myers says
I need to see if we have these boxes around us. I do have some medication I need to dispose of.
Oh, my medicine cabinet is overflowing and I’ve procrastinated long enough. Knowing how to dispose of the outdated meds will help me get started.
Amy Smith says
So many people dispose of medications by either throwing them in the trash or dumping them into the toilet. They do not realize the dangers of disposing of them that way!
Dennis Littley says
This is great for disposing of old medications and keeping it out of reach of little ones and pets. This will prevent a disaster. We definitely don’t need it in our lakes, ponds or drinking water.
Terri Steffes says
I had such a hard time finding a place to dispose of my old meds, that I just brought it home and stuck it in a corner. This has got to change.
This is a good reminder to go through my medicine cabinet, get rid of things that are expired or not being used, and make sure we keep things in a safe place. You just never know.
We always keep our medicines in a secure and safe place, but it has been quite a while since the last time I went through them to check for the expiration dates. Will do that today. Thanks for the reminder.
Ruth I says
This is great! I wish there is a program like this in here. Most of us do not really know how to dispose it.
Jenn @ EngineerMommy says
Finding the right way to dispose of medications is essential. I should definitely go through my medicine cabinet one of these days!!
Does the medication need to be in the original container with labels attached or can they be loose secured in a bag?
As long as it is an allowed medication for disposal, I am not aware of any container specifications.