Safe Pill Disposal
With the increased availability and medical advancements in prescription drugs, more and more individuals are finding it difficult to properly dispose of their unused medications.
To protect children’s health due to accidental ingestion of medications, prevent abuse of prescription medications, and to further protect public health and the environment, the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP) is issuing the following recommendations regarding the proper disposal of unused medications.
- DO NOT FLUSH your unused medications or expired medications. Despite previous recommendations issued by multiple government agencies, this is no longer a preferred method for disposal of medication. Flushing of medication can contaminate water systems and lead to unhealthy drinking water.
- Participate in “take-back or roundup” programs sponsored by community agencies and local law enforcement. These programs are free and will ensure your medications are properly disposed of. Visit the Join Together Northern Nevada Website or the Operation Medicine Cabinet in Las Vegas for more information regarding these programs.
- Disposing of unused or expired medications in your trash is also recommended, as landfills are currently able to handle such waste. This will ensure that the medications do not end up in waterways or are abused by individuals.
- Pour medication into a sealable plastic bag. If medication is a solid (pill, liquid capsule, etc.), add water to dissolve it.
- Add kitty litter, sawdust, coffee grounds (or any material that mixes with the medication and makes it less appealing for pets and children to eat) to the plastic bag.,/li>
- Seal the plastic bag and put it in the trash.
- Remove and destroy ALL identifying personal information (prescription label) from all medication containers before recycling them or throwing them away.
- Take your unused medications back to a local pharmacy that accepts and disposes of unused medications. Certain pharmacies have scheduled days they accept unused medications. Smiths and Walgreens are among the pharmacies that provide this service.