How to Dispose of Medications Properly1,2

DON’T:     Flush expired or unwanted prescription and over-the-counter drugs down the toilet or drain unless the label or accompanying patient information specifically instructs you to do so.

DO:          Return unwanted or expired prescription and over-the-counter drugs, to a drug drop box/take-back program or follow the steps for household disposal below.


In North Carolina, many communities now have year-round drop boxes where prescription and over-the-counter medications can be placed for safe disposal. Lenoir County has an operation medicine drop off location at the Kinston Police Department, located at 205 East King Street, Kinston NC.  For more information about medication disposal locations in North Carolina, go to

In addition many law enforcement agencies across North Carolina hold special events in conjunction with National Poison Prevention Week or National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. You can contact your local police or sheriff’s office to see if they are sponsoring a drug take-back event.


  1. Take your prescription drugs out of their original containers.
  2. Mix drugs with an undesirable substance, such as cat litter or used coffee grounds.
  3. Put the mixture into a disposable container with a lid, such as an empty margarine tub, or into a sealable bag.
  4. Conceal or remove any personal information, including RX number, on the empty containers by covering it with permanent marker or duct tape, or by scratching it off.
  5. The sealed container with the drug mixture, and the empty drug container, can now be placed in the trash.

1 . Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. (n.d.). Safe Disposal of Medicines – Disposal of Unused Medicines: What You Should Know. Retrieved August 03, 2017, from

2. Collecting and Disposing of Unwanted Medicines. (2017, May 10). Retrieved August 03, 2017, from

3. National Take-Back Initiative. (n.d.). Retrieved August 03, 2017, from

4. (n.d.). Retrieved August 03, 2017, from