It is estimated that 2,500 American children abuse a prescription drug for the first time every day.

How to dispose of expired medications

The opioid epidemic in the United States draws attention to the misuse, abuse and theft of opioids and other addictive medications. It is estimated that 2,500 American children abuse a prescription drug for the first time every day. With two billion opioid prescriptions dispensed from 2012-2018, 70% of which remain unused, it is important to safely dispose of unneeded medications to avoid access to others.

In addition to opioids, many more medications can be harmful to pets and children if accidentally ingested.

Also, medications kept for the future may lose effectiveness or in the case of antibiotics, not work well for your next infection, so removing all unneeded medications from your household is the safest option for all.

October 29 is this year’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day and a great reminder to clean out and remove medications. The goal of this event is to provide a safe, convenient and responsible way to dispose of medications.

How to dispose of medications at home:

Return unneeded medications on the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

  • Visit to search for a location near you holding an event on October 29.
  • In Indiana, many state and local police departments as well as hospitals are holding events this year.

Return unneeded medications to a year-round pharmaceutical disposal location

Dispose of medications with at home disposal systems

  • Products have come to the market to allow save disposal at home. One such product is Deterra®.
  • While you do not have to spend money to properly dispose of medications, you can find Deterra® products for purchase at pharmacies, on Amazon and at their website.
  • Through October 31, you can request a free Deterra® pouch by visiting their website!

Dispose of medications at home following approved steps.

  • While it is best to dispose of medications by one of the steps above, if not possible, you can dispose of them at home following these steps:

Flushing of medications is not always recommended; however, the Federal Drug Administration does have a list of medications that due to safety, they recommend being flushed instead of thrown in the garbage if you are not able to take them to a drug take back location.

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Jordyn Schwerin, RN

Authored By

Jordyn Schwerin, RN

Kinetiq Health Program Manager

As a Kinetiq Health Program Manager, Jordyn works to create customized and unique wellness solutions, aiming to improve her clients’ overall health and quality of life. Her responsibilities include collaborating with client wellness teams and hosting one-on-one client meetings to communicate and implement wellness plans based on specific needs.

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