Disposal of Medication

lavender Once a year, I go through my medicine cabinet and remove all prescription and non-prescription drugs that are old or that I no longer take. I had some medication to dispose of recently and dropped by my local pharmacy in Silicon Valley, only to be told that pharmacies here do not collect drugs from the public to dispose of. This is the opposite from Canada, in which many major pharmacies are a part of drug take-back disposal programs.

In Canada: In U.S.A.:
Most municipalities have pharmacies that participate in drug take-back programs. Pharmaceutical disposal programs differ between cities.

For instance, residents of Sunnyvale can disposal of their unwanted medications at any of the six Sunnyvale Fire Stations, whereas Cupertino residents should dispose their drugs at the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office (West Valley Patrol Sub-Station) and Mountain View residents can make disposal drop-offs at the Palo Alto Regional Water Quality Control Plant.

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Health Canada’s “Proper Use and Disposal of Medication” article discusses the drug take-back program further. “Save the Bay” has a comprehensive pharmaceutical disposal site list for the Bay Area at: http://www.savesfbay.org/pharmaceutical-disposal-sites

To locate your nearest medicine disposal location, you may find drug disposal programs under Internet search terms like:
– drug disposal
– medicine disposal
– medication disposal
– management of post-consumer pharmaceutical waste
– pharmaceutical disposal
– household hazardous waste

Medications include prescription and non-prescription medicines, as well as herbal products, mineral and vitamin supplements and throat lozenges. For prescription drugs, don’t forget to remove the pharmacy prescription labels that list your name and physician details from the containers.

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