You might take prescription or over-the-counter medicines to help manage your health. But there may come a time when you no longer need these medicines, or they are expired. Expired medicine may not work and may no longer be safe to use. So don’t use or keep medicine that has expired or that you don’t need. Check the medicine bottle or box label or the information that came with your medicine. It may tell you how to dispose of the medicine safely.
Expired or unwanted prescriptions and over-the-counter medications should not be flushed in the toilet or poured in the drain. These medications contaminate Indiana’s rivers and lakes, and can potentially devastate the fish and aquatic wildlife in these ecosystems.
Return unwanted or expired prescription and over-the-counter medications to a drug take-back location. Marion County has scheduled drug-take-back events and our police departments have permanent drop boxes. These programs typically accept all household medicines, including prescription, over the counter, and pet medicines.
Almost all medicines can be thrown into your household trash if a take-back program is unavailable. Follow the steps below:
Remove the drugs from their original containers and mix them with something undesirable, such as used coffee grounds, dirt, or kitty litter. This makes the medicine less appealing to children and pets and unrecognizable to someone who might intentionally go through the trash looking for drugs.
Put the mixture in something you can close (a re-sealable zipper storage bag, empty can, or another container) to prevent the drug from leaking or spilling out.
Throw the container in the garbage.
Scratch out your personal information on the empty medicine packaging to protect your identity and privacy. Throw the packaging away.
When it comes to drug disposal, we want to protect human life and the environment. Landfills are specifically designed to protect the environment with systems to protect the groundwater. Do not flush or drain medication unless you are directed by a pharmacist. Instead, dispose of these items at a take-back location or in the garbage.