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Why should I get rid of my old medications?
Getting rid of medications in a safe way will keep them from:
- Poisoning children or animals
- Getting into the water supply or environment
- Being used inappropriately
How do I get rid of medication safely?
There are a few ways you can get rid of your old or unneeded medications.
- Take-back days: For several years now, the DEA has been coordinating nationwide medication take-back days twice a year, typically in April and October. These are usually held at police stations in your community or a neighboring one. You can check the DEA’s medication take-back page to see if there is an event coming up soon and find a location near you.
- Permanent drop boxes: Many towns now have permanent medication drop boxes installed, where you can safely drop off your unneeded medications at any time during the year.
- In Maine, a number of police stations have drop boxes. View the map.
- The New Hampshire Information and Analysis Center has created a map of drop box locations in the state.
- The Vermont Department of Health has a medication disposal page that includes a list of year-round medication collection sites. There are also instructions on how to request a medication mail-back envelope you can use to get rid of your unwanted medications.
- Other municipal disposal options: Your city or town may have its own take-back day, drop box or other preferred disposal method not listed above. Call your town office or police department for more information on mediation disposal near you.
- Home disposal: If you cannot get rid of your unneeded medications through a take-back day, drop box or other method in a timely manner, dispose of them in your household trash.
- If the label on the medication gives instructions on how to get rid of it, follow those.
- Otherwise, follow these steps:
- Take the medication out of its original container and put it in a zipper bag.
- If the medication is a solid (pill, tablet or capsule), add a little bit of water. If it is a patch, fold it in half with the sticky side inside.
- Add an undesirable substance, such as cat litter or coffee grounds, to the bag.
- Seal the bag and put it in the trash right away.
- Before throwing out the empty container, use a permanent marker to black out your personal information to protect your privacy.
- Do not flush any medication down the toilet unless the label says to.
Last Updated: Sunday March 20th 2022