Dispose of prescription opioids (pain medicine or painkillers)

Getting rid of medicine you no longer need is a good way to keep it from being misused or hurting someone else. It is easy to safely get rid of prescription opioids (pain medicine or painkillers) and other medicines.

Use a prescription medicine “take-back box.”

Dropping your unused medicine in a medicine take-back boxes is a safe, secure way to get rid of medicine you don’t need.

  1. Collect and prepare medicines. Leave prescription medicine in their original containers. Mark out your personal information with a marker.
  2. Find a take-back box. Some chain pharmacies have a take-back box in their pharmacy. Find a prescription medicine take-back box near you.
  3. Drop your medicine and go!
Ask your pharmacist about other ways to safely get rid of medicine you don’t need.

For example, ask if they have DisposeRx (a product that mixes with medicine to make it safe to throw away).

If these options don’t work for you, try one of the following:

  • Look for local drug take-back events in your community.
  • Ask your local police or fire station about disposal options.
  • Visit www.fda.gov to find a list of medicine that can be flushed when there is not a takeback option and you need to get rid of it immediately.

As a last resort, mix the medicine with an unpleasant substance (such as dirt, used coffee grounds, or kitty litter) and put it in a sealed plastic bag. Put the bag in your household trash.