Clean Your Medicine Cabinet Out Right

Clean Your Medicine Cabinet Out Right

Clean Your Medicine Cabinet Out Right

Are out-of-date drugs piling up in your medicine cabinet? If so, it’s time for a cabinet clean out.

Here’s an idea. Take your meds to a collection center near you on National Drug Take Back Day. leaving site icon 

All meds have a “shelf-life.” That’s the time period when a drug is most effective and safe. After its expiration date, a drug may not work the way it should. You may not get its full benefit. Some out-of-date meds can be unsafe. Taking an out-of-date drug just isn’t worth the risk.

How to Dispose of Drugs
  1. To make it simple to safely get rid of unwanted meds, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association leaving site icon (BCBSA) is partnering with Walgreens to expand Walgreens Safe Medication Disposal Program. leaving site icon 

    Walgreens disposal kiosks are a free, year-round way to get rid of unused or out-of-date prescription meds. You can use the kiosks to throw away expired over-the-counter drugs too.

  2. If there isn’t a site is near you, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) leaving site icon advises you to:
    • Call your city or county government to ask about a drug take-back program leaving site icon or a proper place to dispose of prescription drugs and other meds.
    • Follow the directions on the label or patient-facts brochure that comes with the medication. Don’t flush drugs down the toilet unless the label says you can.

  3. If there are no instructions for disposal and no take-back programs in your area, throw your prescription drugs in the trash by taking the following steps:
    • Take the medication out of its containers. Mix it with used coffee grounds, kitty litter or something else that will make the drug unusable. Do NOT crush the pills.
    • Put the whole mixture in a can or sealable bag so it does not leak.
    • Remove personal information from the empty medicine containers before recycling.

  4. The FDA also has a “flush listleaving site icon of drugs that are safe to flush down the toilet.

Safe medication disposal is one way we can all help ensure meds don’t harm someone else, or spoil our ground and water resources.

Sources: National Drug Take Back Day, leaving site icon Drug Enforcement Administration, 2023; Safe Medication Disposal, leaving site icon Walgreens, 2023; Safe Medication Disposal, leaving site icon Food and Drug Administration, 2020; Drug Disposal: FDA’s Flush List for Certain Medicines leaving site icon Food and Drug Administration, 2020

Originally published 10/21/2016; Revised 2018, 2020, 2023