How to Safely Dispose of Prescription Meds

One person dies every day in Pinellas County from a prescription drug overdose, often opioid abuse.   Statewide, 14 people a day die from prescription drugs and heroin according to the Pinellas County Opioid Prevention office.

Here is a map of where you can drop off unused/unneeded medications to be safely disposed of.

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This program is for the general public, and not for commercial use such as doctors’ offices.

Accepted: Any prescription drug or medicine used for people or pets, including pills, liquids, inhalers, patches and Epi-Pens.

Not Accepted: Syringes and medical equipment.

Do not flush your medicines down the toilet or down the drain. Use a disposal site or collection event when available, or dispose of old medications in the trash.

Frequently Asked Questions (from Fla DEP)

Can I take my unwanted medicine to my pharmacy?

New federal regulations allow pharmacies to have collection programs. You should check with your pharmacy to see if it is available. If not, consider asking them to start a collection program.

Can I take my unwanted medicine to a hospital?

New federal regulations allow hospitals to have collection programs. You should check with your hospital to see if it is available. If not, consider asking them to start a collection program.

Can I take my unwanted medicine to my doctor?

In most cases, your doctor will not be able to take them back. If the doctor is located in a hospital with a collection program, he will be able to direct you to the collection container.

Can I donate my unwanted medicine?

In most cases, no.

Can I put my unwanted medicine in my SHARPS container?

No, medicine should not be disposed in your sharps container. For information on sharps disposal: Needle Collection Programs

Mail Back Programs Through Retailers and Disposal Products

Some retailers sell mail back products for unwanted medicines. These are suitable for household use as long as you follow package directions. There are also products available to mix with medications so they can be disposed in the trash. They are also designed for use by homeowners.

None of these products are suitable for disposal of hazardous waste pharmaceuticals from a business like a medical facility or pharmacy. DEP does not regulate any of these products.

Can’t find a disposal site or drop-off event?

If you cannot find a disposal site or drop-off event, place the medications in the household trash after taking precautions to prevent accidental ingestion by humans or animals.

To protect the environment, please use these guidelines instead of flushing medications:

  • Keep in the original container. This will help identify the contents if they are accidentally ingested.
  • Mark out your name & prescription number for safety.
  • For pills: add some water or soda to start dissolving them
  • For liquids: add something inedible like cat litter or dirt
  • Close the lid and secure with duct or packing tape
  • Place the bottle(s) inside an opaque (non see-through) container like a detergent container.
  • Tape that container closed.
  • Hide the container in the trash. Do not put it in the recycle bin.

DO NOT give drugs to anyone else

DO NOT flush drugs down the toilet.

DO NOT put drugs in the trash without disguising them – human may find them and misuse them.

 

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