Getting rid of unused medications can seem like a pain. I’m a doctor who studies opioid misuse, but even so when I recently went through the medicine cabinets at home, I found over 100 opioid tablets accumulated over a decade. That got me thinking about where and when I could dispose of them. It turns out I’m not the first one to ask this question, and there are actually a bunch of helpful resources out there:
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a page on drug disposal, including a video.
You can find a local disposal site at the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) website here (though the interface and results could be a little clearer).
Or find disposal sites on Google Maps here.
The DEA also hosts periodic drug takeback days, with temporary locations to return unused medications.
Your doctor or pharmacist may also have a special drug disposal system for you to use at home. Ask them.
Finally, only if you don’t have a place to easily dispose of your opioids, the FDA says it’s OK to flush them down the toilet. It might not be great for fish, but it’s better than having unused opioids around the house.
The FDA has made this nifty infographic that makes a nice summary of this information: