It’s National Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet Day! How should I celebrate?

Aging Health & Wellness Staying Safe

Over-the-counter and prescription medications have a way of accumulating in cabinets, drawers, bags, and forgotten pockets. Unused and expired medications should be discarded safely to avoid misuse. Take a few minutes with Those Nerdy Girls to safely dispose of your old medications today.

Think about all the places you store medication and then clean them out. It’s probably not just your medicine cabinet. Medications in containers without a label, anything crumbling or leaking, expired medications, and medications for people who no longer live in your home should be properly thrown out. When medications sit for too long, they can be found by children, pets, and other people who shouldn’t take the medication. In addition, medication potency can change after the expiration date. Throwing out old medicine isn’t complicated, but there are some guidelines.

Medication take-back and disposal services are the best way to get rid of old medications. Medication disposal services are located in many pharmacies and are often free of charge. If your community does not have a medication disposal service, you can also speak with your pharmacist.

You can participate in National Drug Take Back Day on April 27th, an event sponsored by many communities. Check the Take Back website for a participating location near you.

If a disposal service is not available, here are alternative ways to dispose of your medications.

The “Flush List” includes a list of medications that can be flushed down a toilet when a medication disposal service is not available. Flush list medications, including many opioids, can cause significant harm with just one accidental ingestion or misuse. Flushing medications down the toilet is not the preferred method for disposal. That said, the risk of accidental ingestion of the medications on the flush list FAR OUTWEIGHS the risk of these medications in sewage and water when a medication disposal service is not available.

Medications not on the “flush list” can be discarded in the trash by mixing with things you wouldn’t want to eat and sealing in a container. Ideal options include used coffee grounds, cat litter, dirt, or soap. You should not crush or open tablets before mixing them with something unappetizing.

Don’t forget to cross out any personal information on the pill bottles. You can pull off the label or just cross out names and birthdates with a dark marker.

Taking a look at your medicine cabinet and safely disposing of medications you no longer need counts as spring cleaning. We promise. Join Those Nerdy Girls and many others on Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet Day to decrease medication risks in your home.

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