Addiction Helpline and Resource Center

How to Dispose of Prescription Drugs

It is important to dispose of all unused pills properly. The federal government suggests that you flush unused prescription medication down the toilet. This is only to be done if it is clearly stated on the label that it is safe to do so. If you are unsure about whether you medication may be flushed down the toilet, visit the FDA Web site for more information. If your prescription states that it is not safe to flush the pills down the toilet, some communities offer prescription drug take-back programs or other events. These programs and events are designed to take your unused drugs and dispose of them properly for you. For more information on take-back programs or special events, contact your city or county government. If there is no program available for your use there are other paths to take in order to safely dispose of unused prescriptions:

  • Take your prescription drugs out of their original containers.
  • Mix drugs with a substance such as kitty litter or used coffee grounds in order to make them less desirable.
  • Put the mixture in a disposable container with a lid or a sealable bag.
  • Conceal or remove any personal information (Rx number) on the empty containers by covering it with black permanent marker or duct tape. This is to be done so that people who may find it will not know what drug it contains and try to take it for themselves.
  • Place the sealed container that holds the mixture along with the empty containers in the trash.

When used properly, prescription drugs are very helpful to those who need them. However, prescription drug abuse is very common because the medications themselves are very readily available. It is important to dispose of drugs properly rather than give them away because there are many risk factors that go along with sharing drugs. The drugs may be given without the written instructions that the doctor gives the patients who were prescribed the medication. There may also be side effects that would only occur in certain people. If a doctor did not prescribe the medication, these side effects may occur.

Prescription Drug Abuse Warning Signs

Sometimes it can be difficult to tell if someone is abusing prescriptions or if they really need the medication. Most of the time, the user will not openly admit that they are addicted to the medication. Often, they will pretend that they are still in pain so that no one will suspect the worst. There are certain warning signs to look for when you think someone is abusing prescription medications. It is important to recognize these warning signs in order to be able to help your loved one:

  • “Losing” prescriptions often so they have to go to the doctor to get a new one
  • Getting prescriptions from more than one doctor
  • Taking higher doses despite warnings
  • Stealing prescriptions
  • Forging prescriptions
  • Selling prescriptions
  • Excessive mood swings

Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention

Prevention is key. It is important to keep your prescription medications clearly labeled and away from children and those with a history of drug abuse. Keep all medications in a locked cabinet stored at room temperature. Many teenagers will form an addiction to prescription medication because of inadequate storage. It is quick and easy for a teenager to steal a pill from his or her parents every now and then without anyone noticing.

Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment

If you or a loved one is addicted to prescription drugs, it is important to seek help. Prescription drugs are a highly dependent and addictive. Once addicted, the effects are devastating. But there is hope. Because of the large number of people who are becoming addicted to prescription medications every day, there are many specialized treatment options. Most rehab facilities offer both physical and psychological treatment during the rehabilitation process. This form of treatment is known as dual diagnosis. If you are interested in receiving information on prescription drug detox or rehab, please call our toll free number at (888) 371-5714. All calls are considered private and confidential.

banner ad