It is easier than you think!
Live in Las Cruces NM and ever wonder what to do with those expired medications you no longer want? Waiting for the Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) next National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day?
Well, DEA held its last drug take-back day in September 2014 and has since ended the program. In calls to the agency, officials told us to use the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) household disposal guidelines for drug disposal. The guidelines list the steps for disposing of your medications, easily and quickly. Proper disposal requires you to mix your medications with something that makes them uneatable, like coffee grounds or cat litter. Then, adding water to this mixture will dilute and neutralize their potency. Put the mixture in a container with a lid such as a margarine tub or a plastic bag with a seal. You can then toss in the household trash.
You can also purchase medication disposal bags at a local pharmacy or online. The Walgreen’s in Las Cruces sells Medsaway Medication Disposal System™ bags for $3.99. These bags are useful for all types of drugs, even controlled substances. They are available online as well.
The National Community Pharmacists Association hosts a Facebook page for DisposeMyMeds.org. This page is an online resource to help patients find medication disposal programs at local independent community pharmacies. We called one of their local pharmacies, which recommended the Medsaway™ bags. They told us, however, they did not have a drug take-back program. This may mean that not all the pharmacies in their program take back drugs. Check out the Facebook page, though, it is a resource that will keep you informed.
St. Luke’s recommends you follow EPA guidelines and do not flush your medications down the toilet! They can end up in our drinking water sources. Check out the second page in the guidelines for an explanation as to how that can happen.