Proper Med Disposal PDF Print E-mail

Through proper disposal of drugs in the home, Iowans can prevent the misuse or abuse of prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. Be sure to follow these guidelines:

  • Take unused or outdated medicines out of their original containers.
  • Mix prescription or OTC drugs with an undesirable substance (like used coffee grounds or kitty litter) and put the mixture in an impermeable, nondescript container, such as an empty can or sealable bag.
  • Properly conceal and dispose of medicines in the trash so the drugs are not stolen or accidentally ingested by children or pets.
  • Unless the directions say otherwise, do NOT flush medications down the drain or toilet — the chemicals can pollute the water supply.
  • Always remove any personal, identifiable information from empty prescription bottles or pill packages before you throw them away.
  • If available in the community, take advantage of pharmaceutical take-back programs or community solid-waste programs. They allow the public to bring unused drugs to a central location for proper disposal.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) works with local officials to provide special community Take Back events twice each year for the safe disposal of controlled prescription medicines. Additionally, some local law enforcement agencies have implemented ongoing drop-off programs. As regulations change in the near future, Iowans may have additional safe medicine disposal options.

Click here for more information on how to properly dispose of medications.
(Link to Proper Disposal of Meds PDF on Resources Page)

Where to Dispose of Unused or Expired Non-Controlled Medications

take away

In 2010, the Iowa Pharmacy Association launched TakeAway, Iowa’s medication disposal program, in an effort to curb the consequences of improper medication disposal and to educate the Iowa public about proper pharmaceutical disposal. More than 440 pharmacies in Iowa participate in TakeAway and properly dispose of unused or expired medications that are not considered controlled substances.

To learn more about which medications can be disposed of through TakeAway and find a participating pharmacy near you, click here.

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