What are "unwanted medications"?
Almost three billion drug prescriptions will be dispensed this year. A significant portion of these drugs will never be used and will require disposal. Getting rid of unwanted prescription or over-the-counter medications has historically meant flushing them down the toilet or drain. This is no longer the best advice, however. Water treatment facilities and septic systems are not designed to remove medications and many of the other chemicals found in personal care products and so they enter water supplies. Recent studies by the United States Geological Survey have found antibiotics, hormones, pain relievers, and other medications in waterways throughout the United States. The long-term impact of medication ending up in our rivers, lakes, and even our drinking water, is unclear. However, studies suggest that the release of antibiotics into the environment may encourage the development of drug-resistant germs. Hormones from medicines and birth control pills are suspected to have reproductive side effects in fish.
Please do not dispose of unused medications down the drain or toilet.
Safely store all
Child-resistant caps should be used if children live in your home or visit. Store all medicines out of sight and reach of children—in a locked cabinet or one with safety latches on it. A majority of medicine bottles used by seniors do not have child-resistant closures. As many as 20% of child poisonings involve a grandparent’s medication. Do not leave children unattended where they have access to medicine bottles.
Put unwanted medicines in a safe place where you won’t confuse them with currently used medication and where others can’t get to them. Store them in their original container with the label intact. Never give medicines to another individual—it is dangerous! Do not open unwanted ampoules, vials, or IV bags.
Disposal of sharps is easy and free in Franklin County, Massachusetts. Sharps disposal containers are available through the Franklin County Solid Waste District. Call the District to find out how you can participate in this free sharps disposal program.
Always store sharps containers out of the reach of children.
Help protect your health,
your family, your community, and the environment by disposing of hazardous
Franklin County Solid Waste Management
This website is made possible through
a grant from the