How to Dispose of Prescription Medications

Project Medicine Drop

    Medicine Safety and Disposal

The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs has developed Project Medicine Drop as an important component of its effort to halt the abuse and diversion of prescription drugs. It allows consumers to dispose of solid unused and expired medications anonymously, seven days a week, 365 days a year, at "prescription drug drop boxes" located within the headquarters of the Edgewater Police Department.

Each Project Medicine Drop box is installed indoors, affixed to the floor or wall in a secure area within police department headquarters, within view of law enforcement officers, in an area to which members of the public may be admitted to dispose of their unused medications. Their prominent "Project Medicine Drop" logos make the boxes highly visible and recognizable.

Project Medicine Drop provides the opportunity to discard unused prescription medications every day throughout the year. The participating police agencies maintain custody of the deposited drugs, and dispose of them according to their normal procedures for the custody and destruction of controlled dangerous substances. They report the quantity of discarded drugs to the Division of Consumer Affairs on a quarterly basis.

Proper Disposal of Liquid Medication

Follow any specific disposal instructions on the medication's drug label or patient information. If no disposal instructions are provided on the label, you can throw drugs in the household trash. First take them out of the original containers and mix them with an undesirable substance such as coffee grounds or kitty litter. Then put the unattractive mixture in a sealable bag, empty can, or other container to prevent it from leaking out of a garbage bag. Before throwing out a medicine container, scratch out all identifying information on the label in order to protect your identity and your privacy.

DO NOT give medications to friends. Doctors prescribe drugs based on a person's specific symptoms and medical history. A drug that helps you may harm someone else.

When in doubt about proper disposal of a drug, talk to your pharmacist.

Always remember:

Consumers are NOT advised to flush unused medications down the drain, or simply discard them in the trash.

Scientists have expressed concerns about the effects of medications being released into the water supplies after having been flushed down the toilet or poured down the sink, and the U.S. Geological Survey has found traces of pharmaceuticals in streams in 30 states. Simply placing drugs in the trash creates the potential that they will be found by those seeking to sell or abuse them.