Don't Flush Your Medications
Do you have unused or expired over-the-counter or prescription medication in your cabinet? Dispose of them properly to help prevent misuse and accidental poisonings and to protect the environment. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, as well as local organizations, host "take-back" days, when residents can bring medications to a designated site for proper disposal. Learn more about the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Initiative.
You also can pick up a drug disposal kit at Health Department offices and other locations.
General Home Medical Disposal Information
Don't flush unused medicines.
Why? Because they can end up in our rivers and streams. To help protect our environment, throw unused, unwanted or expired over-the-counter and prescription medicines in the trash. Don’t flush medicines — except when specifically instructed by the label.
Check the pill bottle for any instructions on proper disposal. If none are present, follow these steps:
- Remove medicine from original containers. Do not crush tablets or capsules.
- Mix medicine with undesirable substance like kitty litter or used coffee grounds.
- Place mixture in a tightly sealable bag or container and throw away in trash.
- Black out all personal information on the prescription label so that it is unreadable.
Get more information on how to throw away medicines safely .
- Learn how to properly dispose of needles, syringes and other medical waste from your home. (Please note: Commercial facilities, such as nursing homes, must use a licensed disposal company to get rid of their waste.)
- Find out more about drugs in our water at Fairfax County's Chemicals and Drugs in the Water page.
- Learn about the Drug Enforcement Administration's National Take-Back Initiative, which schedules periodic National Prescription Drug Take-Back Days. On these days, residents can safely dispose of unwanted, unused prescription drugs at a nearby drop-off location.