Agencies Issue Guidelines for Drug Disposal | DC Metro Area Personal Injury Law Blog

By Victor E. Long

The FDA has issued guidelines on the disposal of prescription drugs.  The Kaiser Family Foundation states that the average American takes more than 12 prescription drugs annually, with more than 3.8 billion prescriptions purchased each year,

Previously, three federal agencies–the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, Department of Health and Human Services and Environmental Protection Agency–jointly released new guidelines in February designed to help people safely trash their prescription  drugs.

Federal Guidelines:

  • Do not flush prescription drugs down the toilet or drain unless the label or accompanying patient information specifically instructs you to do so.
  • To dispose of prescription drugs not labeled to be flushed, you may be able to take advantage of community drug take-back programs or other programs, such as household hazardous waste collection events, that collect drugs at a central location for proper disposal. Call your city or county government’s household trash and recycling service and ask if a drug take-back program is available in your community.
  • If a drug take-back or collection program is not available:
  1. Take your prescription drugs out of their original containers.
  2. Mix drugs with an undesirable substance, such as cat litter or used coffee grounds.
  3. Put this mixture into a disposable container with a lid, such as an empty margarine tub, or into a sealable bag.
  4.  Conceal or remove any personal information, including Rx number, on the empty containers by covering it with black permanent marker or duct tape, or by scratching it off.
  5. Place the sealed container with the mixture, and the empty drug containers, in the trash.

Office of National Drug Control Policy

7501 7th St., NW, Washington, DC  20503