How Should I Dispose of My Drugs Safely?
Drug Take-Back Programs
best option to dispose of all expired, unused, or unwanted medications is to
participate in local drug “take-back” programs sponsored by the Alexandria
Police Department and Sheriff’s Office. Historically these have been conducted
twice a year (in the spring and fall). More information regarding dates and
locations may be available at:
Disposal in Trash
disposal option for most drugs may be in the regular
trash following these FDA guidelines (see exceptions
below under "Flushing"):
1. Remove them from their original containers
and mix them with an undesirable substance, such as used coffee grounds or
kitty litter (this makes the drug unpalatable and unrecognizable to people who
may intentionally go through the trash seeking drugs).
2. Place the mixture in a sealable bag, empty
can, or other container to prevent the drug from leaking or breaking out of a
garbage bag. Place the bag in the
regular trash can, not in the recycling bin.
3. Needles and syringes should be disposed of
in a hard plastic container, such as a detergent bottle, capped securely, and
labeled as "Sharps,” then placed in the refuse. Needles and syringes
should never go into the recycling bin.
Flushing – is ONLY recommended for a small number of
A small number of medicines may be especially
harmful and, in some cases, fatal with just one dose if they are used by
someone other than the person for whom the medicine was prescribed.
The following link is a list from the FDA advising
what medicines you should
flush down the sink or toilet to help prevent danger to
people and pets:
Before throwing out a medicine container,
scratch out all identifying information on the prescription label to make it
unreadable. This will help protect your identity and the privacy of your
personal health information.
Do not give your medicine to friends. Doctors
prescribe medicines based on a person's specific symptoms and medical history.
A medicine that works for you could be dangerous for someone else.
When in doubt about proper disposal, talk to
For further information, please consult the following: