October 4, 2013

Maury Regional offers tips on safe drug disposal

COLUMBIA, Tenn. — On Saturday, October 26, the Columbia Police Department will hold a drug take-back program from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Columbia Mall at 808 South James Campbell Boulevard.

At one time or another, just about everyone will need to use some kind of medicine. In order to avoid harm to yourself and others, Maury Regional Medical Center (MRMC) wants you to be aware of the proper way to dispose of outdated and unused prescription drugs. One of the best ways to be sure that medicines are safely disposed of is to take advantage of the community’s drug-take-back programs.

“I think the DEA Take-Back program is the most effective way to dispose of unwanted medications,” said MRMC Pharmacy Director Jeff Binkley. “This program reduces the potential for illegal prescription drug use, protects the environment, and helps patients avoid taking the wrong medication.”

Contact your city or county government’s household trash and recycling service to see if there is a medicine take-back program in your community and learn about any special rules regarding which medicines can be taken back. You can also check to see if your pharmacist is aware of any other medicine disposal programs in your area. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Web site also contains information about National Prescription Drug Take-Back Events.

If there is no drug-take-back program in your area, most medicines can safely be disposed of in the household trash if you mix them with an unpalatable substance such as kitty litter or used coffee grounds. Place the mixture in a container such as a sealed plastic bag before throwing it in the trash and remember to scratch off all information on the prescription label to make it unreadable.

Certain medicines may be especially harmful and even lethal if used by someone other than the person to whom they have been prescribed. To prevent accidental ingestion by children, pets or anyone else, if no drug take-back program is available, check the label for specific disposal procedures.

If you have questions about disposing of your medicines, you may contact the Federal Drug Administration by calling 1.888.463.6332 or at