PharmaImportance In Properly Disposing of Prescription Drug

How long do you keep your medicine in your bathroom cabinet? Are you still keeping the expired ones? How often do you clean your medicine cabinet? Do you know how to properly dispose of expired and unused prescribed medicine? Did you know that proper disposal of prescription drugs has a significant impact on the environment and other people’s well-being?

You might say that these questions are overwhelming; we believe so too. But these questions play an important factor, especially that improper disposal of prescription drugs has adverse effects. So for a better understanding of why it is essential to properly dispose of prescription drugs, here are a few reasons why.

Proper Disposal Of Prescription Drugs Reduces Risk Of Abuse

For many families, the disposal of drugs and other prescribed medicines is not on the top priority list when it comes to tidying the house. Expired medicines don’t smell bad, it won’t even deteriorate that fast, and they don’t even grow moldy. Prescribed medicines come in the form of a tablet, capsule, and syrup. All of these medicines can easily be stored and left in the medicine cabinet unattended for a long time.

But little do we know that proper and safely discarding expired drugs and medicines not only keeps your medicine cabinet tidy, but it can also help keep your family safe.

Did you know that according to the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, there are about 15 million Americans who used prescription drugs in a year? And in the year 2010, a SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) conducted a survey, showing that only 18% of medicine (e.g., pain relievers) are bought with a prescription from the physician. At the same time, 55% bought or have access to the drug from a friend or a relative.

This activity is a leading cause of abuse, especially for the younger groups. When they have access to these prescriptions, they can easily purchase drugs that are not tailored to their health condition. What’s worse is that keeping prescribed medication for a long time in your house can be easily stolen and sold by family members, friends, and others.

This advice from the US FDA (United States Food & Drug Association) can help prevent these issues from happening or recurring. You can follow these tips as this is how to do it properly.

Don’t Flush

As per the FDA, dumping of pills and other medications down the drain has minimal environmental effects. However, this practice is still not ideal. It’s best to bring unused prescribed medications to a drug take-back facility for a better and safe discarding.

Disposing Unused and Expired Drugs Together With Household Trash

If a drug take-back facility is not accessible, prescribed medicine can be disposed of together with other household trash. As per the FDA, you can throw prescription medicines and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs in pills, liquids, drops, patches, and creams in the garbage. However, it should be appropriately disposed of by not mixing it with undesirable trash such as coffee grounds, dirt, or cat litter.

This way, medicine is unrecognizable. Make sure to put the mixture in a sealable bag like a ziplock or an empty container. Then you can dispose of it altogether in your garbage.

It’s best to remember that prescription drugs are essential to every person. When used as prescribed, it keeps millions of people across the world to live healthily.

Proper Disposal Of Prescription Drugs Protects The Environment

Drugs that are found in a water supply can be a cause that the environment suffers. Though water treatment systems are designed to remove substances from the water before it is disposed of or regulated back into the public water supply, these water systems are not designed to remove drug residuals.

That’s why any wastewater that results from the treatment is returned to the environment. Unfortunately, there are traces of drugs and prescribed medication residuals found in plants, fish, and other living animals that drink, swim, and reside in different water bodies. They are prominently found in lakes, rivers, and streams.

Because of this occurrence, it merely shows that the environment is suffering. These substances become a part of the ecosystem and affect all living creatures that depend on it. But it’s not only that; even us humans suffer the after-effects of it. There are also traces of pharmaceutical drugs that are found in US metropolitan areas of water sources.

There’s only one way to prevent it from happening. That is to follow the FDA regulations on properly disposing of prescription medications and always dispose of unused and expired drugs regularly.


We all know that proper usage of prescription drugs can help our well-being, and it goes the same in properly disposing of it. Storing for a long time those unused or expired medications not only will cause an untidy medicine cabinet, but it can also lead to an even worse situation such as drug abuse and improper usage of medication. That’s why the US FDA is emphasizing the importance of proper disposal of prescription drugs. This is not only to protect human welfare but also to protect the environment.

This article has been sponsored by Searchtides

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