Here’s How to Properly Dispose of Opioids

Opioids can cause potentially fatal effects when kids or pets consume them, so it is important to know how to dispose of these drugs properly.

When you have prescription pain medications called opioids in your home, you might not end up needing to use the entire amount prescribed. If you’re left with opioids that you do not intend to take, you should properly dispose of them to prevent anyone else in your household from ingesting them. To keep your loved ones safe, you should know how to dispose of prescription drugs properly. 

Be Aware of Your Prescription’s Shelf Life


Some people hold onto unused opioids in case they need to take them for pain at a later time. However, this can be harmful if these prescription drugs are no longer useful. You should avoid taking any prescription pain medications that have expired and safely dispose of them instead. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises getting rid of unused drugs as soon as possible for safety reasons. 

Disposal Options for Opioids


When you have opioids that you need to get rid of, there are a few different options available for disposal. These include the following:

  • Bring them to a take-back location in your community.
  • Take unused opioids to a designated collection receptacle in your community, such as at a local pharmacy or healthcare facility.

Many police stations have secure drop boxes where you can deposit your leftover medicine. Be sure to contact your local station first to discover the location of the nearest box, as well as the method in which you should place your medication into the secure medication disposal drop-off box. Most will require the prescription to be in the original bottle as well as secured within a ziplocked bag to avoid any accidental spilling of the contents.


What Not to Do


You should never throw unused opioids into the garbage—by doing so you are putting your children and pets at risk of ingesting these drugs. Tossing prescription pain medications in the trash also makes it easier for those who have an opioid addiction to get hold of more of these drugs. Keep in mind that crushing or grinding up these drugs does not make them safe to throw in the trash. Doing so could cause even more harmful effects for anyone who comes into contact with them.


If you need more information on prescription drug safety, please contact Smith-Caldwell Drug Store at 501-315-7700 to speak to a pharmacist. Our pharmacists can answer your questions and address any concerns you have about opioids or other medications.