It’s safest to never throw medication out with the trash. So every April, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration hosts National Prescription Drug Take Back Day as an anonymous and convenient way for people to get rid of unused or expired prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications. Collection sites are also available year-round. Visit to find one near you.

When you can’t get to a collection site, remember these tips:


Do follow disposal instructions on the medication packaging.

Do take these steps when disposing of medication in your household trash:

  1. Mix—but don’t crush—the medication with dirt, cat litter or used coffee grounds.
  2. Put the mixture in a plastic bag or sealed container before placing in the trash.
  3. Remove all personal information from the empty bottle or packaging and discard it.


Don’t flush medication down the toilet unless there are no disposal instructions on the packaging and the medication is on the FDA’s list of flushable medications (find this list at

Don’t give away unused medication. This is extremely dangerous. Some nonprofits accept limited types of medication donations. Contact the organizations for details.