How do you properly dispose of medication?

1 answer | Last updated: Nov 02, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

What is the proper or legal way to dispose of unused medications including opiates? Are there specific federal or DEA rules or laws which require that unused medications be returned to the doctor if the prescription was filled at a pharmacy and paid for by the patient? Should unused medications ever be returned directly to a doctor? Thank you.

Community Answers

A fellow caregiver answered...

In Los Angeles, we have periodic hazardous materials round ups. Ours is called CleanLA and their website is They advertise in the paper and I also signed up through email to be notified when there's a round up in my area. We have collections at the Rose Bowl and another at the Santa Anita race track. They take the things that are illegal to put in the regular trash such as paint, cleaning supplies, computers, monitors, electronics, solvents and medication. They know how to dispose of it properly and they are extremely well organized. Here, I just load everything in the trunk of the car, take it to the site and they unload it. You are not allowed to leave your car. It is the best system. The downside is that they don't do it often enough locally. Check your area to see if you have something like this.