HOW TO SAFELY DISPOSE OF MEDICATIONApr 24th, 2013 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: For Senior Women
Discarding Medications Safely
Senior citizens are met with the need to discard medications safely for a variety of reasons. Sometimes we need to throw out leftover meds because we no longer take them and/or they have expired. Or we may need to toss them because they no longer are doing the job, and between us and our primary care physician, we have determined to stop using them.
With the loss of our mother a couple of weeks ago, we were faced with having to discard medications she had been using, and in particular to safely dispose of morphine, a controlled substance, and ativan, a Schedule IV controlled substance. Her physician had prescribed these meds for her comfort in her last days. And we had some left over.
The Hospice team assigned to our family was very helpful when it came to deciding how to safely dispose of these meds. They were in liquid form and we scattered some baking flour on a plastic sheet, then poured the fluid medication on the flour and mixed it all up. We then put the mixture and plastic sheet in a plastic baggie and closed it before tossing it in the trash. Used coffee grounds work as well a flour to absorb the fluid.
Helpful Resources Online
We also had leftover medications in pill form and not controlled substances. We did a search on our favorite search engine to find some help. The phrase we entered was ‘dispose of medications safely’. SmarxtDisposal.net popped up and we consulted the site for advice about tossing the pills.
The first step is to put the pills into a container that you do not need/want to keep. Add water and mix up the pills in the water, dissolving them all. Then you can close the container or put it in a baggie that you can zip closed. Dispose of the mixture in your trash can.
National Take-Back Initiative Day is April 27. If your community is participating in this event, you can take pills to a designated location for safe disposal. Check your local newspaper or search online for the most convenient drop off spot.