Northern NJ Safe Kids / Safe Communities

Get Rid of Your UNUSED Prescription Drugs

Discard Unused Prescription Drugs

Are there too many prescribed or over the counter medications stocking up around your house hold? And how many of those are expired by now? Holding onto expired medications around the home may endanger the life of your child. This is because it increases the risk of the child coming across these medications. Properly getting rid of these expired medications is an easy solution to reduce the risk of your child coming across an unnecessary drug interaction. These following guideline given by the food and drug administration (FDA) ensure that risks are reduced.           

    •       Follow any specific disposal instructions on the prescription drug labeling or patient information that accompanies the medicine. Do not flush medicines down the sink or toilet unless this information specifically instructs you to do so.

    •       Take advantage of programs that allow the public to take unused drugs to a central location for proper disposal. Call your local law enforcement agencies to see if they sponsor medicine take-back programs in your community. Contact your city’s or county government’s household trash and recycling service to learn about medication disposal options and guidelines for your area.

    •       Transfer unused medicines to collectors registered with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Authorized sites may be retail, hospital or clinic pharmacies, and law enforcement locations. Some offer mail-back programs or collection receptacles (“drop-boxes”). Visit the DEA’s website or call 1-800-882-9539 for more information and to find an authorized collector in your community.

If no disposal instructions are given on the prescription drug labeling and no take-back program is available in your area, throw the drugs in the household trash following these steps:

    1      Remove them from their original containers and mix them with an undesirable substance, such as used coffee grounds, dirt or kitty litter (this makes the drug less appealing to children and pets, 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.

PROPER DRUG DISPOSAL : retrieved from



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KJ Feury RN APN, C
Phone: 973-971-4327 
Fax: 973-290-7350