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Q: What can I do with unwanted or expired medications?

Posted December 18, 2014 in Advice Column, Grimes


 A: When disposing of unwanted medications, the worry is not simply about potential misuse, but also protecting the environment from exposure to these medications.  Although previous guidelines stated flushing unwanted medications down the toilet was the best thing to do, this is generally not recommended today. When flushing medicines down the toilet or sink, they can end up in the water supply. Current water treatment facilities may not be equipped to properly remove all medications from the water supply.

The safest way to dispose of unwanted medications is to take them to your local pharmacy where they may be placed in a TakeAway environmental return system box. This is a service that many local pharmacies offer free of charge.   We are able to accept both prescription and non-prescription pills, creams and liquids.  Simply leave the pills in the container they came in and drop them off at the pharmacy.  We are not allowed to accept any controlled substances.  There is also a box located in the Grimes city hall where you may dispose of all of your unwanted medications (including controlled substances).  If you have questions on what to do with unwanted medications, make sure to ask your local pharmacist.

Information provided by Lena Mullins, Pharm D., hy-vee Drugstore, 1541 S.E. Third St., Suite 100, 986-4527.

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