In the face of rising trends in prescription drug abuse, the federal government recently issued new guidelines for the proper disposal of unused, unneeded, or expired prescription drugs. The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) jointly released the new guidelines, which are designed to reduce abuse of prescription drugs, while also protecting the environment.

The new federal prescription drug disposal guidelines suggest:

  • Take unused, unneeded, or expired prescription drugs out of their original containers.
  • To prevent others from using these substances, mix them with coffee grounds or kitty litter and throw them away in a sealed container.
  • Flush prescription drugs down the toilet only if the label or accompanying patient information specifically instructs you to do so.

Some community pharmaceutical take-back programs allow the public to bring unused drugs to a central location for proper disposal.


This information is provided by the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services within the Department of Public Health.