Ever wonder what to do with your unused or expired meds?


February 26, 2016

We break down the do’s and don’ts of medication disposal and offer nearby resources.

Is your medicine cabinet overflowing with expired prescriptions or over-the-counter remedies you don’t need or use anymore? It’s time to give it a spring-cleaning, but there’s a safe way to do it. Here’s how:

Don’t pour meds down the drain or flush down the toilet; this can be harmful to the environment.


Where can I take expired meds?

Take unused meds to any one of Tennessee’s Permanent Prescription Drug Take-Back Boxes located around the state. Or in Nashville, head to one of the Metro Police Precincts listed here.


What can I drop in the Take-Back Boxes?

At these boxes, you can dispose of prescriptions and over-the counter meds. Liquid medications should be in leak-proof containers. Pills can be in any packaging, even a plastic bag. Medicated ointments or drops can also be placed here. And so can unused or expired pet medications.


What’s not allowed?

Do not dispose of personal care products, blood sugar equipment, thermometers, IV bags, needles or sharps. If you need to dispose of needles or sharps, follow these FDA rules.


How can I dispose of meds at home?

For safe at-home disposal of over-the-counter or prescription medications, consider the following solutions from the Tennessee Poison Center:

  • Keep medications in their original child-proof containers. For privacy, cross out personal information or peel off the label.
  • Before tossing, mix cat litter or coffee grounds — something undesirable — in with the medication. Add a small amount of water to pills or capsules to dissolve them.
  • Place liquid medication bottles inside plastic bags to prevent leaks, and be careful with glass bottles.
  • Find a way to conceal medications, and place in the trash only on garbage day.

For more information or in the event of an emergency, contact the Poison Help Hotline 1-800-222-1222.