What is the proper way to dispose of medicine?

My informed impression of how to properly dispose of medicine has been to avoid throwing it in the garbage or flushing it down the toilet. I've heard you should take out-of-date medicines to the pharmacy for proper disposal.

So, I took three outdated prescriptions to a drug store and asked them to dispose of them. I asked the personnel what they did to dispose of such medicines. I was informed they threw the medicines in the garbage, the same as we would do at home.

I was shocked. They threw the bottles of medicines into the garbage.

They did not even take the pills out of the containers which clearly labeled what they were. One was a narcotic. Yes, it was out-of-date but who knows what the potency was! If several were used, would the pills be dangerous?

I know there are garbage pickers in the Baldwinsville area. What would happen should they find numerous medicines in the garbage?

The proper disposal of medicines needs to be clearly outlined and broadcasted through the newspapers, doctor's offices, TV, etc.

What are the proper guidelines?

Tossing medication in the trash is in fact the proper way to dispose of it, said Mallory Fiorenza, a pharmacy intern at Rite Aid on Downer Street and student at Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. The pharmacy cannot take the medication back, Fiorenza said, so people have to dispose of it themselves. The medication can be thrown away in the bottles. If people are concerned about bottles having their personal information on the label, they can rip off some of the label or use a permanent marker to black their name out.

Vote on this Story by clicking on the Icon


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment