We take so many pills these days. Pills for colds, pain, indigestion…the list goes on. Over the years I’ve had questions about whether or not it’s okay to flush these down the toilet. I didn’t want to take the wrong stance on this without getting more information, so I decided to dig into the science of pharmaceuticals.
Lots of people have old and unused medications lying around the house.
Therefore, when you have an old prescription that you don’t intend to use then what do you do with it?
The temptation is to throw the pills in the toilet, but should you?
You can flush drugs down the toilet only if you are certain they are not harmful to the environment.
The FDA is committed to keeping medications out of the hands of people who aren’t supposed to have them. Therefore, they have a list of medications that can be flushed down the toilet.
So you must first ensure that the medicine you are thinking to flush, is there in the FDA’s list of flushable medicines.
Note: Medicines that end up in the water supply may cause ecological damage.
The Best Ways To Dispose Of Unused or Expired Medicines
Protect the environment by not putting prescription drugs in the trash, but rather pill disposal programs.
Use Drug Take-Back Program:
It helps promote the safe disposal of potentially dangerous expired, unused prescription drugs that may otherwise be polluting our water supply or landfills.
Many pharmacies and other disposal facilities will accept unused or expired medication.
You can usually dispose of old drugs by dropping them off at a pharmacy, or by visiting one of the many permanent or temporary ‘drug take back’ events.
Pharmaceutical Donation is an act of donating your unused medications to those people who are often in the need of them. There are several organizations, hospitals, and non-profit institutions that accept these donations under strict rules and regulations.
Home disposal of pharmaceuticals should be the last resort.
If medications are on FDA’s flush list, it is safe to flush them down the toilet.
But if not…
You can take several steps to dispose of your old pills in the safest way possible:
Mix medicine syrups with a small amount of dirt, or kitty litter. Afterward, throw them in the garbage.
Crush the medicine pills into a powder and dispose of them in the garbage. Breaking down large pills and tablets makes it hard for stray animals to reach and will reduce the likelihood that they’re accidentally swallowed.
Remember, the goal is to make the medicine unusable and unrecognizable at the time of disposal.