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Cleaning Out the Medicine Cabinet: Safe Drug Disposal

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Few of us know how to safely dispose of prescription and non-prescription drugs

Few of us know how to safely dispose of prescription and non-prescription drugs. We recognize them as hazardous waste, and flushing them down the toilet or sending them to a landfill contaminates our water, air and ground.

Elizabeth Winter of BC's College of Pharmacists offers this solution: "Remove personal identifiers (name and Rx number) from your prescription vials, and return the drugs to your pharmacy for disposal." Call your pharmacy first to clarify its drug-disposal policy. Bring in:

  • All medicines (prescription, non-prescription, including vitamins) that have exceeded their expiry date or are not currently being used
  • If the product has no expiry date, dispose of liquids that are older than two years, tablets and capsules older than three years, any medicine in questionable condition or excess quantities that cannot be used within one year
  • Medicine with incomplete or missing labels.



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