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Disposal Instructions


1.   Take to a "Safe Drug Drop-off" location or household hazardous waste collection center or event.

Waste medications can be taken to the following household hazardous waste collection centers/events:

In all other areas, first check with your city or county to determine whether their household hazardous waste collections accept medications. It is illegal for household hazardous waste centers to accept certain prescription medications known as "controlled substances". These are drugs that have a potential for addiction and/or abuse such as narcotics and tranquilizers. Common controlled substances include codeine, phenobarbitol, and anabolic steroids (click here for a more detailed list). If you don't know if your prescription is a controlled substance, check with your doctor or pharmacist. If they tell you that it is a controlled substance, dispose of it as described in #2, taking care that all of the recommended steps are followed.



2.   Put in a sturdy and securely sealed container and then in a trash can where children and pets can't reach them.

To avoid accidental and intentional ingestion follow these steps:

  • Safety
    When possible, all medications put in the trash should be "treated" in some way to prevent people and animals from eating them. You can do this by simply adding water and then salt, ashes from the fireplace or barbeque pit, or dirt from the yard to pills or capsules in a bottle or by adding salt, ashes, or dirt to liquid medications. Wrap several layers of masking tape or duct tape to cover and hide blister packs (pills in a card).  It is also wise to place the medications in the trash as close to the pick-up time as possible so there is less chance that the medicine can fall into the wrong hands.
  • Container
    Use the original container with safety caps, if available, and tape the lid to the container with duct tape or another type of sturdy tape. It is a good idea to use a plastic container when disposing of liquid in a glass bottle to contain the spill if the bottle breaks. Hide all medications in an outer container such as a paper bag, box, or plastic tub and wrap in several layers of newspaper to prevent discovery and removal from the trash.
  • Privacy
    If desired, remove patient's name, drug name, prescription number, and other personal information from the container before disposal.
Learn more at

City of San Diego Trash Disposal Information
City of Riverside Trash Disposal Information

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Medications in The Environment Disposal Instructions Further Info

In case of overdose or accidental poisoning, call the poison center at
1-800- 222-1222
24 hours/day