Caution should be taken in disposal of medication


In our family, summer is a time for vacation, house projects and cleaning out. We select an area, review what we have in there and separate in piles what needs to go: donate, recycle, trash.

While going through our medicine cabinet, I found some expired medication. I looked for disposal instruction on the packaging. On the label, “dispose after 03/03/2018” was printed; nothing else. I decided to call our local pharmacies to see if they would take back my half-bottle of expired liquid medication.

I called a total of eight pharmacies. None of them could take back liquid medication and the most common answer was to call my local fire department or sheriff’s office to check with them. I was just looking for instructions, not more places to call …

To each one, I made sure to suggest that they create a list with actual options on what to do in the area where the store was located. They sell medication; they also should take responsibility to inform the public about the appropriate disposal of the medication sold.

One of the pharmacies told me that it was against the law to take back medication. I sent them a link to The Disposal Act — — that “encourages public and private entities to develop a variety of methods of collection and disposal in a secure, convenient and responsible manner.”

It would be a great idea if all pharmacies implemented a collection program in as many locations as possible and were added to the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy list at

If some day you find yourself in a similar situation, as frustrating as it may be, never flush medication down the toilet or pour it down the drain. We do not want to add more chemicals to our water.  Instead, here are some things you should consider:

Taking it to a sheriff’s office. This page has what each location accepts.

Dropping it off at Walgreens (Cocoa Beach or Eau Gallie) — they do not accept liquids, inhalers or syringes.

Mixing it with either coffee grounds or cat litter in a sealable container for disposal in the regular trash.

Purchasing a Deterra pouch for disposal in the regular trash. Walmart sells the medium pouch for $3.98.

This simple list should save you time because finding out how to properly dispose of medication should not be a day’s project.

Email Marcia Booth at