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Dad died. What do I do with the pills?

Published: December 6, 2019

Prescription medication is expensive. Just that fact can be an understandable motivation for some risky business. When my father died, my mother was asking everyone, “Aren’t you on blood pressure medicine?  You take this heart pill don’t you?  What do you take for depression?” Her plan, no waste. My mom will also save four string beans when dinner is over. The beans I can live with, the pills I think we are treading on thin ice. It’s just best to follow the FDA recommendations. 

In order to keep drugs from falling into the wrong hands (little people, pets, and addicts) the FDA recommends that you dispose of all medication as soon as possible. They suggest three options. 

Take Back Programs:   

These are periodic events scheduled in your community for a specified date and time. In addition, some communities have permanent collection sites, you can find the location of permanent collection sites at the FDA website

Disposal in Household Trash: 

Many medications can be disposed of in the household trash following this process. 

  • Mix - the pills with dirt, cat litter, or coffee grounds. Do not crush the pills 
  • Seal – the mixture in a plastic bag 
  • Throw – the bag in the household trash 
  • Scratch – scratch the information on the prescription label off the bottle and discard 

Flushing down the toilet: 

FDA recommends that a short list of drugs be immediately flushed. These drugs are dangerously addictive for children and others who have not been prescribed the medication. A complete list of these drugs is posted on the FDA website.

 
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