Old Prescriptions Have a Place

Time to get rid of those expired medications — just make sure you do it safely.

78430411_PillsIt’s spring cleaning time. In the throes of washing windows, scrubbing baseboards and organizing closets, don’t neglect your medicine cabinet. Chances are the shelves are cluttered with leftover prescriptions that are taking up space and collecting dust — time for a medicine cabinet overhaul.

Prescription drugs can be harmful if ingested by someone other than the prescribed, so don’t go to the trash can just yet. There are proper ways to dispose of medicines to ensure they don’t fall into the wrong hands.

  • A drug take-back program is your best bet. In Reno, the Prescription Drug Roundup is held every fall and spring. Convenient sites are located throughout Sparks and Reno.
  • There are also permanent disposal drop boxes in the lobbies of the Reno Police Department, Sparks Police Department and Washoe County Sheriff’s office during regular business hours.
  • If dropping off your outdated medicines is not an option, then follow the disposal instructions on the prescription bottle. Do not flush medications down the toilet or sink unless instructed to do so.
  • If proper disposal instructions are not included on the medicine bottle, you can throw your prescriptions away. Just remove pills from their original containers and mix with an undesirable substance (e.g. coffee grounds or kitty litter). Seal them in a plastic bag or place in an empty can or other container to prevent the medication from leaking.
  • Before throwing away prescription bottles, scratch out all identifying information to protect your identity and personal health information.

Remember, safety is priority No. 1. The Food and Drug Administration offers additional information and answers to frequently asked questions about the proper disposal of prescription drugs. When in doubt, your local pharmacists can also provide additional information.

2 responses to “Old Prescriptions Have a Place”

  1. Janny says:

    This is very useful information, as those of us who must take meds have a responsibility to make sure they stay out of the hands of others. If we try a drug that does not work for us we want to be sure it is disposed of properly.

    For those of us reading this article who live outside the Reno/Sparks area it would be helpful to have drug disposal information for the outlying areas. For those living in the Carson City and South Lake Tahoe areas
    Prescription Drug Drop Boxes are located at the following:

    Douglas County Sheriff’s Office
    1038 Buckeye Road
    Minden NV

    Lake Tahoe Law Enforcement Building
    (Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Sub-Station)
    175 Hwy 50
    Stateline NV

    The boxes are usually accessible Monday-Friday between 8 am and 5 pm.

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