Medicines are an integral part of health care, and the reason why people are living longer year after year. However, just because they can help treat some medical conditions does not mean that they can’t be dangerous in certain situations. Medicine that’s left out around a house or a health care facility is in danger of being ingested by the wrong person, or is in danger of being overdosed. Unused medicine that is expired or no longer usable must be thrown out using proper hospital waste disposal procedures, or else there could be real harm to the community. Here are ways to get rid of unused medications in health care facilities and in homes.
Using a Professional Service
The public and professionals who have expired or unwanted medications in their homes and facilities should have them removed from the premises in as timely a fashion as possible to reduce the chance of harm. For members of the public, there are drug take-back events organized by the DEA or other law enforcement agencies where people can bring the drugs for proper disposal. These programs can make it easy for people to get rid of their old prescription drugs, and they can know that they will be placed in the proper medical waste bins using certified methods for safety.
The other option, especially for health care facilities, is to have their hospital waste disposal taken care of by certified disposal companies. These companies are experts in getting rid of controlled substances from homes and clinics in the safest and most controlled manner. They use DEA approved disposal containter, so you can be sure they will do everything up to standard. Many of these services also offer mail-back services, where you can send the drugs out for disposal using their pre-paid mailing packages. There are also sites that are registered drop-off sites, which may be these professional services, or they could be law enforcement agencies, pharmacies, or clinics.
Using the Regular Trash
If you live in an area where there are no collectors, or drop offs, or special programs for hospital waste disposal, you can use the trash. However, you must be very careful in doing so, as it is not the best option. Always follow the guidelines on the label. First off, if you’re dealing with tablets or capsules, don’t crush them into powder. Simply mix the medication with kitty litter or coffee grounds, place them in a plastic bag that’s sealed, and put them in the regular garbage. You should also make sure to remove any personal information on the prescription container.
In some cases, you may be able to simply flush your unused drugs down the toilet or sink if no proper medical waste bins are available. This can be useful to get the medication off the premises and ensure that it won’t be able to harm anyone. This, along with using the regular trash, should only be done if there are no authorized collection programs convenient to you. However, there are some medications that should not be flushed under any circumstances. Check the FDA’s website for a listing of drugs that are appropriate for flushing.
Unused or expired medications should be disposed of as quickly as possible, and using extreme care. Make sure that your hospital waste disposal is done properly and safely.