Skip to main content
Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant and University of Illinois Extension

Email Subscription

or follow our RSS feed

Rx for Action

A blog devoted to helping people find local medicine take-back programs and highlighting current research findings and pending legislation.


What do I do with unused medicine?

The next time you turn on the T.V., notice the number of commercials for prescription and over-the-counter medications–everything from anti-depressants to vitamins to flea prevention for your dog. While pharmaceuticals can improve quality of life for people and our pets, most of us end up not using all of the medication that we buy. So the question comes up–how do we get rid of all of those unwanted medicines?

You might be surprised to learn that the answer isn't tossing them in the trash or flushing them down the toilet.Those ways of getting rid of medicine can put people, animals, and the environment at risk. Children or pets can be accidentally poisoned when they find medicine in the trash. And medicine that is flushed down the toilet can pollute local waterways, harm fish and other aquatic wildlife, and even end up our drinking water.

So what's the solution? The best way to dispose of unwanted medicine is to take it to a medicine collection program. These programs safely collect medicine and then destroy them using incineration. You can look for a program near you on our Where to Dispose page.

Unfortunately, not all communities have programs yet. If that is the case where you live, contact your pharmacy or local police department to see if they are willing to start a program. IISG can guide them on how to get started.

Please share this article with your friends!
Share on Facebook Tweet on Twitter Pin on Pinterest

Read more posts from this blog


Email will not display publicly, it is used only for validating comment

testing the comments.
by Chris Tidrick on Thursday 3/22/2012

Posted by Laura Kammin at 3:24PM on 3/9/2012
Categories: Collection Programs