Addiction Helpline and Resource Center

What Do I Do With My Leftover Rx Pills?

What Do I Do With My Leftover Rx Pills?Prescription drug abuse has skyrocketed in recent years. The sharing or selling of leftover Rx pills is not only dangerous, but it is also illegal. Rx drugs should only be taken by the person to whom they were prescribed. Sharing a few pills here or there is dangerous, even for a reason that may seem justifiable. Those who are in true need of medication can, and should, be seen by a physician. A doctor can make the proper diagnosis and even discover other medication or treatment that may be needed for a condition that is more severe than one believes it to be. Chances are if a person tries to get prescription pills from any source other than a physician, there is a bigger problem at hand. By sharing pills with someone, you are not helping him; just contributing to abusive or addictive behavior.

When Should You Get Rid of Your Leftover Rx Pills?

All prescription medications should be taken as directed by a physician. Most prescriptions should be taken until finished, because even though an illness or condition may seem like it has vanished, it usually still needs treatment. There are prescriptions however that will say “take as needed.” In these situations, there lies the possibility of having extra pills. Typically the prescription will have a date that the drugs should be taken by. All pills should be gotten rid of if they are past the expiration date. If there is no expiration date, use the general rule that most pills expire a year after the prescription is written. Dispose of any medication that is damaged, discolored or is in any way different from when the pills were new. Taking expired or damaged medication can be extremely dangerous to one’s health.

How to Dispose of Your Leftover Rx Pills

The only option for what to do with leftover Rx pills is to get rid of or dispose of them. Sharing, selling or saving pills for someone else is not an option. There are proper procedures and guidelines that should be followed when getting rid of leftover medications:

  • Do not flush leftover medication down the toilet. Recent geological studies have found large traces of pharmaceuticals in our public water supply which not only affects the public, but the plants, marine life and environment as a whole.
  • Many pharmacies are now offering a take-back service. There are over 800 pharmacies in 40 states that participate in the program to help people get rid of their leftover medication, according to the L.A. Times health blog. This is the best option for people needed to dispose of their Rx pills.
  • You can grind the substance up and mix it with kitty litter or coffee grinds. When it’s time for disposal, you can put the mixture into a plastic, sealed bag and throw it away. Do not however do this for medications such as OxyContin, Demerol or Percocet.
  • Always make sure to black out any personal information on the prescription pill bottle before you throw it away. Many animal shelters or veterinarian clinics accept donations of empty pill containers.

Do You Have Questions about Rx Drug Use?

If you have any questions about the use of Rx drugs, please call our toll-free helpline today. We are here to answer any questions or concerns you may have about Rx drug abuse or the safety procedures for getting rid of your pills. We are here 24 hours a day to assist you with your Rx drug use concerns. Give us a call.

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