Don’t Flush it Away: Expired Medication

1024px-USMC-100209-M-1998T-001You may have seen stories about Prozac being at detectable levels in drinking water. The same is true of antibiotics, veterinary drugs and synthetic hormones. A significant amount of this is probably from humans excreting these substances (ahem) in the natural course of events, but let’s not all add to the problem by needlessly flushing medications down the drain or dumping them in the trash willy-nilly.

So what should you do with your expired prescription and non-prescription medications? Your first stop should be the Dispose My Meds locator. You will note that most dropoff points are either pharmacies or local law enforcement headquarters (since there are legal issues with prescription drugs, and cops probably don’t want the streets flooded with everyone’s leftover oxycontin.)

Not finding anything? Local police stations in New Jersey, Virginia Beach, and Hennepin County in Minnesota will take your unwanted or expired medications. California’s Sonoma and Mendocino counties offer a variety of dropoff points, as does Washington state.

It also looks like CVS is gearing up with disposal locations to be passed through local police. I will update you as soon as I hear anything.

Are none of those options convenient? You can always save them up along with your worn-out batteries and old electronics for your next hazardous waste event. They almost always take expired medications, prescription and non-prescription. The one in Los Angeles apparently won’t take my old tires and urine, though. Snobs!

Still confused about how to handle your specific meds? Take a look at the FDA guidelines.

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