Concerned Community Members

5 Reasons to Dispose of Unused Medications

Is your medicine cabinet filled with medications that are past their expiration date? If so, you are not alone. If you are no longer taking a prescribed medication, it’s easy to push it to the back of the medicine cabinet and forget that it’s there.  But, did you know that there are potential dangers from not disposing of unused medication?  

Below are the top 5 reasons you should dispose of your unused medication as soon as possible. 

Child Safety

If you are a parent with kids in your house, or a grandparent, aunt, or uncle that has children come over to your house, disposing of unused medications is extremely important. Children love to explore.  Even if your medicine cabinet is out of reach, this does not mean a child will not be able to gain access to it. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 50,000 children have to go to the emergency room due to taking some form of medication that was not intended for them. This puts the child at risk of a potential overdose or injury.  Be sure to dispose of these unused medications and lock your medicine cabinet to keep your children safe and avoid the risk of any potential child dangers.

Aging Dangers

As medications age, or become expired, more potential risks develop. Not only could the medication be less effective, but it also could develop bacteria, which could be potentially harmful as well. The expiration date is created for a reason to protect you, so be sure that you abide by the date given and dispose of any medications that are expired. 

State of Confusion

Having unused and expired medicine can keep you in a state of confusion when searching for what you need. When reaching for medicine or a prescription, if the bottle is the same or looks similar to what you are currently taking, you may accidentally grab the expired bottle putting yourself at risk of potential danger. Always check the bottle for the name of the medicine or prescription, as well as the expiration date. If the medicine is expired, dispose of it immediately to avoid any future confusion.

Theft Target

Housing unused medications can put you at potential risk of being a target for theft. In recent years, it has become more common for theft to occur from attempting to steal medications or prescription drugs to resell them. It is vital that you dispose of unused medications to avoid putting your family, house, or others at risk due to being a potential target.

No Longer Effective for Treatment

Another reason for disposing of unused medications is because it may no longer be an effective form of treatment for an illness. When you are first prescribed a medication, it is for treatment of the specific illness at the specific time of diagnosis. There are many health factors and considerations that doctors consider when prescribing you medication: the amount of medication to take, how frequently it needs to be taken, or for how long you should use the medication. Taking all of these factors into consideration, there is no guarantee unused medication will be effective for treatment in the future, and therefore should be disposed of.

Once you understand the reasons to dispose of unused medications, be aware that there are also a variety of ways to safely dispose of medications, such as a drug take back location, flushing them (only if they are on the FDA’s Flush List), or disposing of them in the trash by mixing them with an unappealing substance. 

If you ever have any questions about unused medication disposal or the risks of unused medication, please Contact Us so we can help answer your questions!


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