Preventing misuse of medications

Medications being disposed into a red binWhy is Proper Medication Disposal Important?

Proper disposal of medications is important, because improper disposal can have serious effects on the ecosystem and increase harm to loved ones and the community through abuse, misuse, accidental ingestion, or diversion. Medications should not be flushed down the toilet or drain, because many water treatment facilities are not able to filter them out, causing the water supply and streams to become polluted with negative ramifications on local wildlife. If improperly thrown out, prescription drugs can end up being eaten by wildlife or taken and misused by other people.

More information on the risks and harm of improper medication disposal can be found on OrCRM's (Oregon Coalition for the Responsible Use of Medications) website.

How do I Properly Dispose of Medications?

Proper Disposal includes:

  • Using a local designated medication disposal site
  • Participating in a federal or non-profit drug take-back day

If either of the above options are unavailable:

  • Mix medications into undesirable waste such as coffee grounds or kitty litter and throw it away
  • Remove identifiable patient information from labels before disposing of medication containers