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Don't just flush those leftover meds

April 22, 2010 |  3:48 pm

Lottapills Unused medications create a dilemma -- what to do with the things? They obviously shouldn't be left lying around accessible to bored teenagers or curious kids. Nor should they be flushed; medication traces are already showing up in the water supply. But just dumped in the trash...? Maybe they should be taken back to a pharmacy.

The National Community Pharmacists Assn., which represents independent community pharmacists, and Sharps Compliance, a medical waste management company, is offering a disposal method that may provide more peace of mind than the traditional "toss 'em in the rubbish bin and hope for the best" approach.

Go to for a list of pharmacies that will dispose of those meds for you. There are 800 participating pharmacies in 40 states, but it's a big country. Even in the L.A. area, you might have to search beyond a 5-mile radius to find one.

For people who can't find a pharmacy or would have to travel too far, the site offers a link to the Office of National Drug Control Policy's guidelines on medication disposal.

That, in a way, seems to bring consumers back to where many started -- at a bit of a loss. Among the tips are to take unused drugs to a collection program, of which there seem to be precious few. (Kudos, guys, for this one.)

But the guidelines do include useful advice as well -- such as, if you must trash the pills, mix them with kitty litter first. 

-- Tami Dennis

Photo credit: Los Angeles Times