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 How to Dispose of Medications Properly 

How to Dispose of Medications

When medications are expired or no longer needed, it's important to know how to properly dispose of them. Disposing of medications safely will help you prevent health risks and prescription drug abuse, especially among 12-17 year olds, whose number one drug of abuse are prescriptions often found in their family's, friend's or neighbor's home. It will also help protect the environment, since flushing some prescription medications down the toilet or sink can contaminate ground water, streams, and natural resources.

To dispose of a medication, follow the instructions on the label or on the patient information that comes with the medication. Most drugs can be thrown away in the trash (see guidelines below) but a few medications have special disposal instructions like flushing down the toilet or sink. Do not flush medicine unless the information specifically tells you to dispose of the medicine in this manner. To find out which medications should be flushed, visit the FDA website.

There may also be a drug take-back program in your community supported by local law enforcement agencies. Find out if a program is offered in your community. Take back programs usually accept controlled substances. You can also check with your local law enforcement to see if they have a collection box for everyday disposal. View additional disposal guidelines now.

The TakeAway Environmental Returns System™ You can also purchase The TakeAway Environmental Returns System™ for $2.99 at your Fred Meyer Pharmacy. Use Use the envelopes to put unused or expired prescriptions or over-the-counter drugs into it, seal and mail it through the U.S. Postal Service. Postage is included in the cost of the envelope. The envelope and unused medications are delivered to an approved medical waste treatment facility where a licensed law enforcement official will witness safe and proper destruction.

The TakeAway system™ provides a safe and proper disposal of medications, and is a convenient, cost effective solution that is readily available. Controlled substances are excluded from this program due to federal regulations. The instruction card included with the envelope has a list of commonly prescribed medications that should not be sent in this envelope. If you're still not sure about your medication, ask your pharmacist. To purchase an envelope, visit any Fred Meyer Pharmacy. Find a pharmacy near you now.
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