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How to Properly Dispose Your Medications

By Donna Stark

There are so many benefits that come from routine chiropractic care, but the one that seems to top the list for patients of all ages is that chiropractic treatments avoid the use of prescription medications. Prescription medications can be messy to deal with sometimes, can't they? Not only can they lead to unwanted and pretty miserable side effects, but what exactly are we to do with them once they are no longer needed or have expired? Do you know the proper protocol to throw them away?

Throwing Your Meds Away Safely

I am sure you have heard that you are not supposed to dump those unused prescription tablets or capsules down the toilet or drain. You should also not toss them into your trash either. The reason for these "rules" is that the medicine can potentially seep into the water supply or get in the wrong hands (children and animals). So what should you do? Well, you need to destroy them completely before putting them in the trash, and here's how to do so.

  • Plastic bag it - Take all the medicine you wish to get rid of out of their containers and place them in a sealable plastic bag. Don't worry about mixing them together because it is not going to matter. Just be sure to use a plastic bag that can be tightly sealed.
  • Make a mix - Do not crush the tablets or capsules. Instead, add something that will make it look as "unappetizing" as you possibly can just in case a child or animal comes across it. Things like cat litter, sand, mulch, coffee grounds, and dirt are perfect for this.
  • Throw it away - Make sure the bag is completely sealed shut before throwing it away in your regular household trash.
  • Remove labels - In order to keep your medical information private, take the prescription labels off the containers and destroy them before throwing away. If you can't remove the label, take a marker and black out all of your personal information.
  • Drop it off - Many pharmacies and community organizations offer prescription "take-back" programs that you can take advantage of as well. If you aren't familiar with the program, ask your local pharmacist or doctor if they know of any coming up.

Keeping Everyone Safe

Don't hold on to your collection of pills. When your prescription medications are no longer needed, they should be disposed of as soon as possible to help reduce the risk of accidental exposure and use or intentional misuse. It's up to you or your caregiver to keep others safe, so be sure to check your medicine cabinet today and get rid of any unnecessary medication!

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Vancouver, Wash.

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