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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 for abuse
How do I get rid of medication safely?
Many municipalities hold medication take-back days or have specific ways for getting rid of old medications. Call your town office or local police department for more information.
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.
Your state may have additional information regarding medication disposal:
- In Maine, a number of police stations will accept medications throughout the year. View the map [may not work on mobile].
- The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services has a list of locations with drop boxes for unwanted medications.
- The Vermont Department of Health has a medication disposal page with a list of year-round medication collection sites and instructions on how to request a medication mail-back envelope you can use to get rid of your unwanted medications.
Last Updated: Thursday March 14th 2019