Be honest, you just throw them down the toilet don’t you? That's what we used to think years ago when disposing of unused drugs. Now there's a heated debate about whether that's a good idea. After all, putting chemicals into a water system that eventually reaches our rivers and oceans doesn’t seem environmentally sound.
On the other hand, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) points out that most of the drug residues in our water systems are those we naturally pass out from our bodies. Still, it makes you think – although I'm sure you'll agree, not a very pleasant thought.
The fact is, says the FDA, most meds can be thrown in the household trash, but you should always follow any guidance that comes with the product – prescription or not. There's little doubt that the best and safest way of disposing of medicines is via community based take-back programs that increasingly are being held all over the country. Simply call your city's or county's waste disposal service to find out if and when they’re planning one.
Also, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) holds a number of national take-back days. One of these recent events collected 181 tons of unwanted drugs at more than 5,300 sites. See the DEA site for more.