smile sarasota disposing of medication

Don’t Flush It! Wait…What?

smile sarasota WHAT: National Prescription Drug Take Back Day
WHEN: Saturday, October 28, 2017 is 10:00 am to 2:00 pm
WHERE: Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, 2071 Ringling Blvd.


At Smile Sarasota, Dr. Still sometimes has to prescribe medications for our patients. These medications are usually for pain, infections or antibiotic pre-medication for patients with artificial joints or heart valves. Medicines play an important role in treating many conditions and diseases and when they are no longer needed it is important to dispose of them properly to help reduce harm from accidental exposure or intentional misuse. The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse and medication. Below, are some options and special instructions for you to consider when disposing of expired, (stay tuned for a future Blog about what ‘expired’ means) unwanted, or unused medicines.

Transfer Unused Medicine to Authorized Collectors for Disposal:

  • Consumers and caregivers should remove expired, unwanted, or unused medicines from their home as quickly as possible to help reduce the chance that others may accidentally take or intentionally misuse the unneeded medicine. Medicine take-back programs are a good way to safely dispose of most types of unneeded medicines. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) periodically hosts National Prescription Drug Take-Back events where collection sites are set up in communities nationwide for safe disposal of prescription drugs.
  • Local law enforcement agencies may also sponsor medicine take-back programs in your community.
  • Likewise, consumers can contact their local waste management authorities to learn about medication disposal options and guidelines for their area.
  • Consumers can visit the DEA’s website for more information about drug disposal, National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day events and to locate a DEA-authorized collector in their area. Consumers may also call the DEA Office of Diversion Control’s Registration Call Center at 1-800-882-9539 to find an authorized collector in their community.

Disposal in Household Trash: 

If no medicine take-back programs or DEA-authorized collectors are convenient for you, and there are no specific disposal instructions on the label, such as flushing as described below, you can also follow these simple steps to dispose of most medicines in the household trash:

  • Mix medicines (do not crush tablets or capsules) with an unpalatable substance such as dirt, kitty litter, or used coffee grounds;
  • Place the mixture in a container such as a sealed plastic bag
  • Throw the container in your household trash;
  • Scratch out all personal information on the prescription label of your empty pill bottle or empty medicine packaging to make it unreadable, then dispose of the container.

Flushing of Certain Medicines:

  • There is a small number of medicines that may be especially harmful and, in some cases, fatal with just one dose if they are used by someone other than the person for whom the medicine was prescribed. To prevent accidental ingestion of these potentially dangerous medicines by children, or pets, it is recommended that these medicines be disposed of quickly through a medicine take-back program or by transferring them to a DEA-authorized collector as described above. If these disposal options are not readily available, it is recommended that these medicines be flushed down the sink or toilet as soon as they are no longer needed.
  • This list from FDA tells you which medicines you should flush down the sink or toilet when they are no longer needed to help prevent danger to people and pets in the home. Flushing these medicines will get rid of them right away and help keep your family and pets safe: Medicines Recommended for Disposal by Flushing 

If you have any questions whatsoever about any medication prescribed by Dr. Still, always feel free to call Smile Sarasota. And when disposing of medications, be responsible and do it the right way!

The video below from Consumer Reports is a great resource as well:

Sources and Credits: Consumer Reports,,