How to Get Rid of Old Prescription Medications


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Last week, Marcia wrote to me and asked “I have tried many websites to find where to rid my old RXs. Do you have any answers?” I sent her an email back and then realized the info I found out could be useful to many others, so I wanted to put it on the site as well.

It used to be that in order to get rid of old prescription medications one either flushed them down the toilet or put them in dirty cat litter and threw them out with the trash. While convenient – and still in practice – it is most certainly not the best thing for the environment. Thankfully we now have more eco-friendly ways of disposing of our prescriptions.

The first place you should check with is your local pharmacy. Most of them will take back old and unneeded prescriptions and dispose of them properly. Try CVS, Walgreens, Rite-Aid, or whatever pharmacy happens to be in your town.

Old Prescription Medications

You can also try calling the police department. If the RX you are trying to get rid of is of a narcotic nature, chances are the police will take it back no questions asked. After all, they want to keep prescription drugs out of the hands of anyone not listed on the bottle.

And lastly, if the pharmacy and the police near you cannot help, check the FDA website. At you can find out much more info about how and where to dispose of prescription meds as well as all the reasons to do so responsibly.

No matter what method you choose, try not to flush meds down the toilet nor throw them in with common household trash. In such a highly-prescribed world, there are already a lot of chemicals and drugs sent into the ground through our aquifers and storm drains. No need to make the problem worse by dumping pills down there too!

Prescription Medication image from BigStock.

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  1. Our local Sheriff’s office has a locked dropbox that’s available 24/7 (and also under 24/7 surveillance so nobody breaks into it). Makes it easy to do the right thing with old meds.

  2. This is a very timely post for me. I was just wondering what to do with an obsolete prescription. Until it becomes common knowledge, this is the kind of thing you can’t possibly post too much! I’ll tweet it to three accounts.

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