Don’t Flush Your Medicines Down the Toilet!
• A recent study shows that 80 percent of US streams contain small amounts of human medicines.
• Sewage systems cannot remove these medicines from water that is released into lakes, rivers or oceans.
• Fish and other aquatic animals have shown adverse effects from medicines in the water.
• And, even very small amounts of medicine have been found in drinking water.
How to dispose medications at home
Follow these steps to protect your privacy and reduce unintended drug use, while saving the environment.
California State Board of Pharmacy
1625 N. Market Blvd., Suite N-219, Sacramento, CA 95834 (916) 574-7900
UCSF Center for Consumer Self Care
3333 California Street, San Francisco, CA 94143-0613
Ask Your Pharmacist
• Keep medicine
in its original
• Scratch or mark
out the patient
• Place some water
into solid medica-
tions, such as pills
• Then add some-
thing nontoxic and
unpalatable such as
litter, charcoal, Comet® or pow-
dered spices (like, cayenne pepper).
• Close and seal the
tightly with packing
or duct tape.
• If discarding blis-
ter packs of un-
wrap in multiple
layers of duct tape.
• Place medicine
that does not
show what’s inside
(like, a cardboard
• Place in the trash close
to garbage pickup time.
Other ways to properly dispose of unused medicine
• Pharmacy Take-Back Program: Ask your pharmacist if the pharmacy will accept old medicines back
• Household Hazardous Waste Collection: Find the phone number of your local HHW collection site
in the government section of your local white pages of the telephone directory.
Help reduce drug waste
If you’re not sure if you can tolerate a new medicine, ask your doctor about a 10 day trial supply.
• Remember to always take all of your medications as directed.