How to Properly Dispose of Medications

Don’t Rush to Flush!!!
How to Properly Dispose of Medications

Is your medicine cabinet full of expired or unnecessary medications? Don’t rush to flush them down the toilet!
Most medications are considered harmful if introduced into the water system. Unused medications in your cabinets, if mistakenly ingested, may cause harm to children and adults for whom the medication was not prescribed.

Here are some do’s and don’ts of medication disposal:

Visit Controlled Substance Disposal Locations
The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has pharmacies (community or hospital) and law enforcement agencies registered as “authorized collectors” of medications. Use the link below to search for local collectors in your area for proper medication disposal:

** Bremo Pharmacy is now an official DEA medication take-back site  **

Dispose unwanted medications in our 12”x8”x10” bucket. Every bucket used is a fee of $5.00*
Return Sharps Needle Containers for $5.00 unless container was purchased at Bremo

  • This service allows you to safely and properly dispose of unwanted or unused medications
  • How does it work?
    • You may dispose of over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications in the blue receptacle labeled “MED SAFE” located inside Bremo Pharmacy across from the register.
  • What can and cannot be disposed of?
    • Accepted: OTC medications, prescription medications (including controlled substances)
    • Not accepted: Illegal substances, inhalers/aerosols
  • Certified sharps containers are accepted — containers cannot be milk jugs, detergent bottles, or coffee cans. They must be closed and locked, and they cannot be over filled.
    If your certified sharps container was purchased at Bremo Pharmacy, the disposal fee is waived! Otherwise, there will be a $5.00 disposal fee at drop off.  If you are interested in having your sharps container disposed at Bremo Pharmacy, please give us a call for more information!
  • Conveniently located at 2024 Staples Mill Road, visit Bremo Pharmacy today!
    Hours of operation are Monday-Friday 9am-6pm and Saturday 9am-1pm
    Call (804) 288-8361 with any questions
    Follow our Facebook page to receive updates on changes and updates with Medication Disposal

Participate in Drug Take-Back Day

Local law-enforcement agencies host drug take-back programs where patients can anonymously drop off medications (except injectables, needles, or intravenous solutions). National Drug Take Back Day is April 30, 2016 (stay tuned for more details!).

Mix Medication in Coffee Grounds or Kitty Litter

The next best option is to crush the medication, add a small amount of water, then mix it in an undesirable substance such as coffee grounds or kitty litter. If it is a liquid medication, mix it with kitty litter or flour to absorb the liquid.

DO NOT Flush Medications Down the Toilet/Sink

There are concerns for medications contaminating the ground and waterways and potentially having an environmental impact. However, some medications may be flushed if unable to dispose of appropriately. Refer to the FDA website ( for a List of Medicines that May Be Disposed Of by Flushing.

DO NOT Give Medications to Family/Friends

Prescribed medication is only intended for the person for whom it was prescribed. If given to someone else, it may have unintended consequences such as: the person may be allergic to a component of the medication, it may interact with their other medications, and they may experience unintended effects that could result in harm or even death.


Prepared by Meredith Ives, MCV/VCU PharmD Candidate 2016
Adapted from FDA “How to Dispose of Unused Medications”

Updated by Meredy Ayers 01/25/2018

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