Parenting Tip: How to Safely Dispose of Expired or Unwanted Medicines

by Melanie Edwards on April 24, 2014

in Parenting

How to Safely Dispose of Expired or Unwanted Medicines

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With Spring in full effect – even though I know many of you are still enduring cool weather – you may be in the mood for some spring cleaning, starting to declutter your closets, and tossing out unnecessary items. As you clean out each room of your home, something you may not think to do is clean out your medicine cabinet. But, decluttering your medicine cabinets or bathroom cupboards and disposing of expired or unused medicines is just as important as clearing out your closet!

This Saturday, April 26 is the DEA’s National Drug Take Back Day, which is a perfect opportunity for you to dispose of medicines you no longer need. Before you just throw your medicines away in the garbage, though, the FDA has a couple of easy steps you should follow for the safe disposal of unwanted medicines:

  1. Mix medicines with coffee grinds or other undesirable substances, such as kitty litter.
  2. Place the mixture in a sealable bag, empty can, or other container to prevent medicines from leaking out, before throwing away in your garbage bag or can.

There is actually a lot more useful information on the FDA site regarding the safe disposal of unwanted medicines, including explanations for why these precautions are important, how to protect your identity and remove important information from the drug label on prescription medications, and information regarding environmental concerns.

Having partnered with the OTCSafety team over the last year as a blog ambassador, I’ve learned a lot about the importance of medicine safety. In particular, three important messages stuck out and were a general overall theme:

  1. It’s important to read medicine labels and follow dosing instructions.
  2. It’s equally important to learn about and understand the active ingredients in over-the-counter medicines.
  3. Safely disposing of expired or unwanted medicines is very important.

As you clean out your expired or unwanted medicines to take advantage of the DEA’s National Drug Take Back Day this Saturday, April 26, you can find a local take-back center to safely dispose of unwanted medicines. Though that is probably the best way and safest way to dispose of expired and unwanted medicines, if you can’t make it to a local take-back center this Saturday, then just remember to follow the FDA’s guidelines for the safe disposal of unwanted medicines that I outlined above.

The OTCSafety team has put together this informative infographic about National Drug Take Back Day providing a quick and visual reference guide to help us remember the guidelines for safe disposal of unwanted medicines, as well as how to find a local take-back center. I encourage you to share this infographic with your friends and family and pin it for your own reference! Let’s help spread the word about this Saturday’s National Drug Take Back Day – it’s such an easy way to declutter your home a bit and get your spring cleaning efforts started, all while promoting medicine safety too!

National Drug Take Back Day

(Click on infographic image to view full size.)

DEA's National Drug Take Back Day, April, 26, 2014

OTCSafety Disclosure

Photo © Melanie Edwards/modernmami™
Infographic courtesy of OTCSafety

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