Massachusetts Medical Society: Medication Disposal

Medication Disposal

MMS Smart and Safe

Smart Scripts Medication Disposal

Most people who abuse prescription drugs get them from friends and family. You can play a big role in keeping powerful medicines out of the hands of those shouldn’t have them.

This includes getting rid of your medications when they’re no longer needed. There are many good reasons to do this:

  • Leftover pills are an attractive target for people who misuse prescription drugs.
  • Old medications could be accidentally ingested by children and pets.
  • Expired medicines may lose their effectiveness, or may not work for other illnesses or conditions.
  • A drug that worked for you could be harmful to someone else. Doctors prescribe drugs based on a person’s specific symptoms and medical history.
  • A medicine that worked for you in the past may not work for you in the future, even if you have similar symptoms. It could even be harmful.

Home Disposal

  1. Unless the directions on the packaging say otherwise, do not flush medicine down the drain or toilet.
  2. An alternative to flushing is to mix the medicine with kitty litter, coffee grounds, or another unpleasant substance. DON’T crush tablets or capsules.
  3. Put this mixture in a sealed plastic bag and throw it in your household trash.
  4. To protect your privacy and to prevent unauthorized refills, remove all information off the prescription labels of empty pill bottles. 

Drop Box Locations 

Some communities have drop boxes where you can bring medicines that you no longer use. Many of them are at local police stations.

Partnership Drug Free Kids and Medicine Abuse Project


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