Council on Aging Answers 2017 - 34

HEALTHCARE

COUNCIL ON AGING - SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

Disposing Of Unused
Medications From The Home
n Bill Liu, PharmD., CGP
Community Pharmacist

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) accidental exposure to medicines in the
home is a major source of unintentional poisoning in
the United States. Consumers and caregivers should
remove expired, unwanted or unused medicines
from their home as quickly as possible to help reduce
harm from accidental exposure or intentional misuse.
A recent study cited by the FDA revealed that in
the year of that study there were upwards of 250,000
cases of improper medicine use reported to Poison
Control Centers throughout the United States. Of
these, almost 10% involved accidental exposure to
another person's medicine. Approximately 5,000 of
these accidental exposure cases involved children 6
years of age and younger. Keeping medicines after
they are no longer needed creates an unnecessary
health risk in the home.
It is important to properly dispose of medicines
after they are no longer needed to help reduce harm
from accidental exposure or intentional misuse. The
34

Answers Guide 2017	

following options and special instructions should
be followed when disposing of expired, unwanted or
unused over-the-counter or prescription medicines:
Follow specific disposal instructions on the prescription drug labeling or patient information sheet
that accompanies the medicine. Do not flush the
medicines down the sink or toilet unless this information specifically instructs you to do so.
Take advantage of programs that allow the public
to take unused drugs to a central location for proper
disposal. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in
conjunction with local law enforcement and other
community organizations organize "Prescription
Drug Take-Back Day" events, usually twice a year.
In Orange County, there are sites scattered
throughout the community that have receptacles that
accept expired, unused or unwanted medications.
Many receptacles can be found at law enforcement
locations, at Senior Centers of several cities and at
some pharmacies. Call 1-800-882-9539 for assistance in locating these collection receptacles or you
may visit the following website:
www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/pubdispsearch
It is important to remember that regardless of

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http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/pubdispsearch

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Council on Aging Answers 2017

Contents
Council on Aging Answers 2017 - Intro
Council on Aging Answers 2017 - Cover1
Council on Aging Answers 2017 - Cover2
Council on Aging Answers 2017 - 1
Council on Aging Answers 2017 - Contents
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Council on Aging Answers 2017 - Cover3
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