All medications can be dangerous when taken by someone for whom they are not intended. It is your responsibility to keep your medication in a safe place. Keep it out of the reach of others. This includes teens, children, vulnerable adults, and pets.
Think carefully about where you place bottles of opioids. Consider keeping them in a locked location. Do not leave them on a counter or in a purse or a bag where someone else could easily get them.
Once you are done taking opioids, throw out unused medication by following one of these steps:
- Call your local city offices, police department or hospital to ask about 24/7 boxes where you can drop off unused drugs.
- Remove the unused medication from the bottle and mix it with something that no person or animal would want to eat, such as cat litter or coffee grounds. Place the mixture in a sealed, plastic bag, and throw the bag in the trash.
- Buy special bags that you can use to throw out medications. They are called “deactivation disposal bags” (for example, Deterra™). You can get them at many pharmacies.
- If you are not able to use any of these methods to dispose of opioid medication, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that you flush your medications down the toilet. It is safer to do this than to keep it in your home.
This material is for your education and information only. This content does not replace medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. New medical research may change this information. If you have questions about a medical condition, always talk with your health care provider.
- © 2019 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved.
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