I was cleaning out the cupboard in the kitchen today where we keep the Tylenol and cold medications and stuff like that. There was actually some childrens Tylenol in there that expired in 2004! Obviously this cleaning task was well overdue! So, I figured I would post a sort of Public Service Announcement just to remind everybody how to properly dispose of old medications. Important stuff here, for people and the environment.
The American Pharmacists Association (APhA) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service say just three small steps can make a huge difference:
1. DO NOT FLUSH unused medications. Consumers were once advised to flush their expired or unused medications; however, recent environmental impact studies report that this could be having an adverse impact on the environment.
2. When tossing unused medications, protect children and pets from the potentially negative effects. APhA recommends that consumers:
Crush solid medications or dissolve them in water (this applies for liquid medications as well) and mix with kitty litter or sawdust (or any material that absorbs the dissolved medication and makes it less appealing for pets or children to eat),
(I mix the meds with coffee grounds and wrap all of it in tin foil)
then place in a sealed plastic bag BEFORE tossing in the trash.
Remove and destroy ALL identifying personal information (prescription label) from the medication container.
Check for approved state and local collection programs or with area hazardous waste facilities. In certain states, you may be able to take your unused medications to your community pharmacy.
3. Talk To Your Pharmacist. Research shows that pharmacists are one of the most accessible healthcare professionals. As the medication experts on the healthcare team, pharmacists are available to guide you on how to properly dispose of your unused medications.
Okay, so there's your task for the day. Go clean out your medicine cabinet and properly dispose of old meds.