What do you do with all the old medicine in your house? Keeping it around could be dangerous for children, pets, or even you, if you happen to grab the wrong bottle. Many medications expire so much of that old stuff isn’t any good anyway. It’s time to get rid of it. How?
- Do not flush old medications down the toilet or sink! Too much of this material winds up in our groundwaters & streams. Gotta keep the fishing good in NE Iowa!
- Do not toss old medications in the garbage. Again, much of it winds up in groundwater. See below for if/when/how this may be done.
The best way to dispose of old medications is by bringing them in to the pharmacy for us to send off in the TakeAway program. This program collects medications from all over Iowa and has them incinerated in a safe way that prevents environmental or groundwater concerns.
BUT. There are some limitations: we cannot accept scheduled medications into the TakeAway program. Schedules 2 – 5 include many pain medications, anxiety drugs, ADHD meds, and more. For the TakeAway poster that outlines what you can and cannot drop off for disposal: Take Away Poster
So what do you do with Controlled medications (C-2 through C-5) that cannot be disposed of via TakeAway? They especially cannot be flushed down the drains! Here’s what you do:
- Strip off the label so no-one knows what drug is inside.
- Add water to help break down the drug before it leaks out of the bottle.
- Add a little of something nasty like cat litter, dirt, or coffee grounds, to make it very unappealing. This will reduce the chance of a drug abuser stealing it from the garbage.
- Put the cap back on so it is sealed to delay how long it takes before the chemicals escape.
- Toss it into the trash. This way, it may be years before it leaks out in the landfill and we hope it will be broken down into harmless chemistry by then.