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Safely Dispose of Your Prescription Medicines

Teens get most of the prescription drugs they misuse from family and friends. Get rid of expired, unwanted, or unused medicines before they become a problem. Check your medicine. There may be instructions for how to dispose of it properly. If not, here are your options:

Step 1: Return

Take your unused, unwanted, or expired medicines to an authorized collector.

No collector near you? Move to step 2

Return your unused medicines to an authorized collector.


Find an authorized disposal location near you where you can turn in your medicines.


Contact your local law enforcement about where to give back your medicines if you are unable to find an authorized disposal location.

Step 2: Flush

Is your medicine on the FDA flush list?

Not on the FDA flush list? Move to step 3

Find out which medicines you can safely flush down the toilet.


See if your medicine is on this FDA's Medicines Recommended for Disposal by Flushing list.


If your medicine is on the FDA list, flush it down the toilet.


If your medicine is NOT on the FDA list, find a collection site near you.

Follow these simple steps to dispose of medicines in the household trash.


Mix medicines (do not crush tables or capsules) with an unpalatable substance such as dirt, kitty litter, or used coffee grounds.


Place the mixture in a container such as a sealed plastic bag;


Throw the container in your household trash;

Scratch Out

Scratch out all personal information on the prescription label of your empty pill bottle or empty medicine packaging to make it unreadable; then dispose of the container.

Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Disposal of Unused Medicines: What You Should Know, April 2018.