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National Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet Day

April 17, 2021   |   By Jacqui Monahan

Friday, April 16th is national clean out your medicine cabinet day! 

The goal of this day is to appropriately rid homes of unused or expired prescription and over-the-counter medications around the house. This can save family members, friends, or visitors from abusing or accidentally misusing the medication.

The unintended risks of unused medications include:

  • Drug diversion and misuse / abuse

  • Accidental ingestions / poisonings

  • Medication confusion

  • Overdoses / suicides

  • Antibiotic resistance

 It is extremely important that you dispose of medications properly. Flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash can contaminate soil or negatively impact sea life or our drinking water. 

How to dispose of expired, unused, or unwanted medications:

  1. Check with your local pharmacy to see if they have a secure drop box where you can dispose of the medication. For example, you can search Walgreens medication disposal kiosks here. The DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) also hosts a list of appropriate controlled substance disposal locations. Search for the available locations near you here.

  2. On Saturday, April 24, 2021 the DEA is hosting a national Take Back Initiative. There are a number of collection sites in the area who will be ready to dispose of your unused medication. Check for your local list here.

  3. Go to Google Maps and type in “drug disposal near me” or “medication disposal near me” to find your nearest drug disposal site.

If you absolutely must dispose of the medication at home (this should be a last resort), follow these steps (per Oregon.gov): 

  1. Take pharmaceuticals out of their original containers and mix with an undesirable substance such as used cat litter or coffee grounds.

  2. Place this mixture in a plastic bag or other sealable container, such as an empty plastic container.

  3. Place the sealed container with the mixture in the trash as close to garbage pickup time as possible, to prevent theft and misuse.

  4. Scratch out personal information on the empty medicine package. Throw away.

Join us in maintaining a healthy home by cleaning out your medicine cabinet! If you need additional information or have any questions, contact us at 503.292.9560.