Keeping medications that are no longer useful is a bad idea.
Consumers and caregivers should remove expired, unwanted or unused medicine from their home as quickly as possible and properly dispose of it to help reduce the chance that others may accidentally take or intentionally misuse the medicine.
Take-back programs provide collection sites to safely dispose of unwanted medicine. It is important to learn what medicine is accepted and what is not. Medications often accepted include prescriptions and over-the-counter ointments/creams, liquids/syrups, pet medications, prescription patches and vitamins. Generally needles, inhalers, aerosol cans, hydrogen peroxide, thermometers and illegal drugs are not accepted.
Always check before going to a collection site to learn what is accepted.
Here are take-back options that may be available in your community:
It is important to note that the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control does not accept unwanted medicine at any of its offices.
If a take-back or mail back program is not available to you, most other unused or expired medicines can be disposed of in your household trash. Here are recommended steps to follow:
Keeping prescription and over-the-counter medicine out of the environment is important. After being flushed or poured down a drain many medicines pass through sewer and septic systems. Because these systems cannot always treat or remove the medicines, they may end up in streams, lakes and groundwater. This can cause adverse effects in fish and other aquatic wildlife as well as unintentional human exposure.
Many people have medical conditions that require injections at home. These needles, syringes and lancets (or “sharps”) must be disposed of properly. This will ensure that other people, especially sanitation workers, will not be “stuck” or cut. To learn more, click here.