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  • How to safely dispose of unwanted medications

    If you read my post from 10-26, you may know that I spent my weekend snacking on pain pills due to a tooth abscess.  While scouring any medicine cabinet and drawer in my house (think of Ray Milland in “Lost Weekend”,  Jack Lemon in “Days of Wine and Roses” or Lindsay Lohan offscreen and you get the idea) for pain pills I found that my strong suit is NOT cleaning out cabinets.  Some of the expired or unwanted medications I had date back to 1991.  Now that I feel better I will be removing the old meds from my home.  Hey, I have new stuff anyway. 

    What is the best way to get rid of old or unwanted medications?

    It is not recommended that you either flush them down the toilet or down the sink drain.  Modern water treatment plants are not fully designed to deal with medication disposal. The long-term health risks posed by consumption of even minute quantities of these medications in drinking water and the full extent of environmental damage remains unknown. 

    It is also not a good idea to throw them in the trash.  Safety experts strongly discourage throwing old medications into the trash where your children or pets can find them. Your trash will end up in a local landfill, where your medications could still have the potential to leach out.   Instead, many municipal or local trash services now have local household waste facilities where you can safely drop off your medications for incineration. Call your local trash service for options in your area.

    There may be hazardous waste disposal facilities or drug recycling programs in your area.  Look online for this information. You could also contact your local pharmacy or physician’s office to see if they have disposal facilities available.

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