Federal Government Issues New Guidelines For Proper Disposal of Prescription Drugs

In the face of rising trends in prescription drug abuse, the Federal government recently issued new guidelines for the proper disposal of unused, unneeded, or expired prescription drugs. The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) jointly released the new guidelines, which are designed to reduce the diversion of prescription drugs, while also protecting the environment.

The new Federal prescription drug disposal guidelines urge Americans to:

  • Take unused, unneeded, or expired prescription drugs out of their original containers. Then mix the prescription drugs with an undesirable substance, like used coffee grounds or kitty litter, and put them in impermeable, non-descript containers, such as empty cans or sealable bags, further ensuring that the drugs are not diverted or accidentally ingested by children or pets.
  • Throw these containers in the trash.
  • Flush prescription drugs down the toilet only if the accompanying patient information specifically instructs it is safe to do so.
  • Return unused, unneeded, or expired prescription drugs to pharmaceutical take-back locations that allow the public to bring unused drugs to a central location for safe disposal.