An important poison prevention step is the safely disposal of expired or unused medications. Keeping “leftover” medications can pose a danger for children, pets and people who might be looking for medications to abuse or misuse. Never keep prescription medications left over after treatment of injuries or surgeries. It’s not safe to take those medications for reasons other than those they were prescribed for. Don’t share your prescription medications with friends or family members even if they have similar symptoms. It’s never okay to take prescription medication that was not specifically prescribed for you.

Medications that are expired can be less effective and expired prescription medications are most likely not part of your physician’s current treatment plan.

Take Back Locations

There are two National Prescription Drug Take Back Days each year. Visit to find the date and locations.

There are also year-round take back locations. In Kentucky there are two resources for finding a take back location near you:

Safe Medication Disposal at Home

While the very safest way to dispose of unused or expired medications is one of the take back locations, if you can’t take your medications to one of the locations above, there is a method available for safely disposing of them at home. Simply mix the pills or capsules with some coffee grounds or kitty litter. Place the mixture in a sealable plastic bag or container and throw it away with your regular trash.

Before throwing away your empty prescription pill bottles always remove the label or mark out the identifying information.

Flushing Unused Medications

There are some medications that could be extremely harmful if even one dose came into the wrong hands. For those medications the FDA recommends that if they can’t be taken to a drug take back location they should be flushed down a sink or toilet. Click here for the list of medciations that are safe to flush and be sure to only flush medications on the list.