As we’ve been writing about here, teens who abuse prescription drugs often get them from their parents’ medicine cabinets. In many cases, the drugs are not currently being used by the parents; they were simply never discarded.
With this in mind, we’ve decided to reprint the federal government’s guidelines for the proper disposal of prescription drugs. They are:
- Take unused, unneeded or expired prescription drugs out of their original containers. Throw the packaging in the trash.
- Mix prescription drugs with an undesirable substance, such as used coffee grounds or kitty litter, and put them in impermeable, non-descript containers, such as empty cans or sealable bags. This will further ensure the drugs are not diverted.
- Flush prescription drugs down the toilet only if the label or accompanying patient information specifically instructs doing so.
- Take advantage of community pharmaceutical takeback programs that allow the public to bring unused drugs to a central location for proper disposal. Some communities have pharmaceutical takeback programs or community solid-waste programs that allow the public to bring unused drugs to a central location for proper disposal. Where these exist, these programs are a good way to dispose of unused pharmaceuticals.
The FDA advises that the following 13 drugs be flushed down the toilet instead of thrown in the trash:
- Actiq (fentanyl citrate)
- Daytrana transdermal patch (methylphenidate)
- Duragesic transdermal system (fentanyl)
- OxyContin tablets (oxycodone)
- Avinza capsules (morphine sulfate)
- Baraclude tablets (entecavir)
- Reyataz capsules (atazanavir sulfate)
- Tequin tablets (gatifloxacin)
- Zerit for oral solution (stavudine)
- Meperidine HCl tablets
- Percocet (oxycodone and acetaminophen)
- Xyrem (sodium oxybate)
- Fentora (fentanyl buccal tablet)
Note: Patients should always refer to printed material accompanying their medication for specific instructions.24