Proper Storage and Disposal of Medication

How to Safely Store Medication
  • Keep medications in their original container. Never mix or combine different medications into one bottle.
  • Don’t store medications in areas that are hot and humid, such as the bathroom medicine cabinet. 
  • If a medication needs to be stored in the refrigerator, be careful not to store it in the freezer or expose it to a lot of moisture.
Safely dispose of drugs in your trash by taking these steps:
  1. Keep the medication in its original container. Use a marker to cross out or duct tape to cover your personal information. You can also remove the label.
  2. Make the medication unusable. Mix your drugs (liquid or pills) with something unappealing like soapy water, used coffee grounds, salt, or kitty litter.
  3. Seal it. Put the mixture in a container, like an empty yogurt, so the contents cannot be seen. Tape it shut.
  4. Throw out the sealed container in your regular trash. Do not put the container in your recycling bin.

Printable signs – You can print the materials below for posting at your pharmacy, office or home.

See our video about how to dispose of unneeded or unwanted medication in English, and in Spanish

Drug Drop Boxes


Local Prescription Drug Take Back Events

If you want to know more about prescription drug take back events held in your own community, contact your local police department or visit the DEA National Prescription Drug Take Back Day webpage to find out if there is an event taking place near you.

Why Not Flush?

  • Flushed medications can get into our lakes, rivers and streams. Research has shown that long-term exposure to low levels of medications has changed the behavior and physiology of fish and aquatic organisms.
  • Medications enter our wastewater a number of ways, including the flushing of unused medications. A nationwide study done in 1999 and 2000 by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) found low levels of drugs such as antibiotics, hormones, contraceptives and steroids in 80% of the rivers and streams tested.

Public Service Announcements (TV and Radio)

Additional Resources

Prescription Monitoring Program - Home