medicine safety

When it comes to your child’s safety, some of the big reminders stand out: don’t ride a bike without a helmet, put on sunscreen before playing outside, and wear a seatbelt in the car. But what about safety reminders regarding medications around the house?

Each year, more than 500,000 parents and caregivers call a poison control center because a child got into medicine or because they were given the wrong dose of medicine. That’s one call every minute of every day. It is important to not only keep medications in a safe place away from children, but to also properly dispose of medications that are no longer needed.

Here are some tips on how and where to properly dispose of different types of medicines:

Preparing to dispose of medications:

  • Mix pills in a plastic bag or in as few containers as possible
  • Tighten the lids of liquid medicines or place the entire bottle in a plastic bag
  • Check to see if your medications are controlled substances. Controlled substances are only accepted at police stations.

Pharmacies will accept non-controlled prescription medications, while police stations will accept any prescription medicines and controlled substances (ex: Vicodin, OxyContin, Ritalin, Adderall, or Valium).

Both pharmacies and police stations accept:

  • Over-the-counter medicines
  • Vitamins
  • Inhaler cartridges
  • Pet medicines
  • Pre-loaded syringes
  • Medicated ointments and lotions

Pharmacies and police stations DO NOT accept:

  • Toothpaste, shampoo, sunscreen, peroxide, or other non-medicated personal care products
  • Thermometers (Contact your local hazardous waste collection facility)
  • Aerosol cans (Contact your local hazardous waste collection facility)
  • Empty or used needles and syringes (Contact your local free sharps disposal program)