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Medication Disposal

a. Medicine Take-Back Programs

Medicine take-back programs for disposal is the preferred way to remove expired, unwanted, or unused medicines from the home and reduce the chance that others may accidentally take the medicine.

The city or county government’s household trash and recycling service should be contacted to see if there is a medicine take-back program in the community and learn about any special rules regarding which medicines can be taken back.

c. Disposal in Household Trash

If no medicine take-back program is available in the area, the following steps will be used to dispose of most medicines in the household trash:

  1. Mix medicines (do NOT crush tablets or capsules) with an unpalatable substance such as kitty litter or used coffee grounds;
  2. Place the mixture in a container such as a sealed plastic bag; and
  3. Throw the container in your household trash.
  4. Before throwing out your empty pill bottle or other empty medicine packaging, remember to scratch out all information on the prescription label to make it unreadable.

d. Medicines Recommended for Disposal by Flushing

This list from FDA tells what expired, unwanted, or unused medicines you should flush down the sink or toilet to help prevent danger to people and pets in the home. Flushing these medicines will get rid of them right away and help keep the family and pets safe.

Medicines Recommended for Disposal by Flushing Listed by Active Ingredient and Medicine There is a small number of medicines that may be especially harmful and, in some cases, fatal with just one dose if they are used by someone other than the person for whom the medicine was prescribed. This list from FDA tells you what expired, unwanted, or unused medicines you should flush down the sink or toilet to help prevent danger to people and pets in the home.


Medicine Active Ingredient
Abstral, tablets (sublingual) Fentanyl
Actiq, oral transmucosal lozenge * Fentanyl Citrate
Avinza, capsules (extended release) Morphine Sulfate
Daytrana, transdermal patch system Methylphenidate
Demerol,tablets * Meperidine Hydrochloride
Demerol, oral solution * Meperidine Hydrochloride
Diastat/Diastat AcuDial, rectal gel Diazepam
Dilaudid, tablets * Hydromorphone Hydrochloride
Dilaudid, oral liquid * Hydromorphone Hydrochloride
Dolophine Hydrochloride, tablets * Methadone Hydrochloride
Duragesic, patch (extended release) * Fentanyl
Embeda, capsules (exteded release) Morphine Sulfate; Naltrexone Hydrochloride
Exalgo, tablets (extended release) Hydromorphone Hydrochloride
nFentora, tablets (buccal) Fentanyl Citrate
Kadian, capsules (extended release) Morphine Sulfate
Methadone Hydrochloride, oral solution * Methadone Hydrochloride
Methadose, tablets * Methadone Hydrochloride
Morphine Sulfate, tablets (immediate release) * Morphine Sulfate
Morphine Sulfate, oral solution * Morphine Sulfate
MS Contin, tablets (extended release) * Morphine Slfat
Nucynta ER, tablets (extended release) uTapentadol
Onsolis, soluble film (buccal) eFentanyl Citrate
Opana, tablets (immediate release) Oxymorphone Hydrochloride
Opana ER, tablets (extended release) Oxymorphone Hydrochloride
Oxecta, tablets (immediate release) Oxycodone Hydrochloride
Oxycodone Hydrochloride, capsules Oxycodone Hydrochloride
Oxycodone Hydrochloride, oral solution Oxycodone Hydrochloride
Oxycontin, tablets (extended release) * Oxycodone Hydrochloride
Percocet, tablets * Acetaminophen; Oxycodone Hydrochloride
Percodan, tablets * Aspirin; Oxycodone Hydrochloride
Xyrem, oral solution Sodium Oxybate





Active Ingredient Medicine
Acetaminophen; Oxycodone Hydrochloride Percocet, tablets *
Aspirin; Oxycodone Hydrochloride Percodan, tablets *
Diazepam Diastat/Diastat AcuDial, rectal gel
Fentanyl Abstral, tablets (sublingual)
Duragesic, patch (extended release) *
Fentanyl Citrate Actiq, oral transmucosal lozenge *
Fentora, tablets (buccal)
Onsolis, soluble film (buccal)
Hydromorphone Hydrochloride Dilaudid, tablets *
Dilaudid, oral liquid *
Exalgo, tablets (extended release)
Meperidine Hydrochloride Demerol,tablets *
Demerol, oral solution *
Methadone Hydrochloride Dolophine Hydrochloride, tablets *
Methadone Hydrochloride, oral solution *
Methadose, tablets *
Methylphenidate Daytrana, transdermal patch system
Morphine Sulfate Avinza, capsules (extended release)
Kadian, capsules (extended release)
Morphine Sulfate, tablets (immediate release) *
Morphine Sulfate, oral solution *
MS Contin, tablets (extended releas)*
Morphine Sulfate; Naltrexone Hydrochloride Embeda, capsules (extended release)
Oxycodone Hydrochloride eOxecta, tablets (immediate release)
Oxycodone Hydrochloride, capsules
Oxycodone Hydrochloride, oral solution
Oxycontin, tablets (extended release) *
Oxymorphone Hydrochloride Opana, tablets (immediate release)
Opana ER, tablets (extended release)
Sodium Oxybate Xyrem, oral solution
Tapentadol Nucynta ER, tablets (extended release)



e. disposal of syringes and materials contaminated with bodily fluids


Syringes and materials contaminated with bodily fluids should be discarded in a sharps container.


The sharps container could be disposed of in the following ways:


Drop Box or Supervised Collection Sites

Sharps users can take their own sharps containers filled with used needles to appropriate collections sites:

Doctors’ offices, hospitals, pharmacies, health departments, or fire stations. Services are free or have a nominal fee.


Mail-back Programs

Sharps users place their used sharps in special containers and return the container by mail to a collection site for proper disposal. This service usually requires a fee. Fees vary, depending on the size of the container. Check with your health care provider, pharmacist, yellow pages, or search the Internet using keywords “sharps mail back.”


Syringe Exchange Programs (SEP)

Sharps users can safely exchange used needles for new needles. Contact the North American Syringe Exchange Network at 253-272-4857 or online at



At-home Needle Destruction Devices

Several manufacturers offer products that allow you to destroy used needles at home. These devices sever, burn, or melt the needle, rendering it safe for disposal. Search the internet using keywords “sharps disposal devices.” The prices of these devices vary according to product type and manufacturer.

For More Information:


Contact the Coalition for Safe Community Needle Disposal at 1-800-643-1643 Ask about the availability of safe disposal programs in your area