Safely dispose of expired and unused medication

Like many people, you may have expired and unused medications in their homes. It’s important to safely dispose of these medications to help keep friends and family safe. National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is April 24 and a great time to clean out medicine cabinets.

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day aims to provide a safe, convenient and responsible way to dispose of prescription drugs, while also raising awareness about the potential for abuse of medications. The non-medical use of prescription drugs ranks second only to marijuana as the most common form of drug abuse in America, according to the U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration.

Unused prescription drugs thrown in the trash can be retrieved and abused or illegally sold. Unused drugs that are flushed contaminate the water supply. Proper disposal of unused drugs saves lives and protects the environment.

Get a disposal kit at no charge

Employees can get a free disposal kit from OptumRx, administrator of the HealthSelectSM Prescription Drug Program. OptumRx allows employees to dispose of their unwanted medications safely and easily without risking them falling into the wrong hands.

Employees can call an OptumRx customer care representative toll-free at (855) 828-9834 (TTY 711) to receive a free medication disposal kit, or visit and see the “Safely dispose of your unused medication” brochure under the “Education resources” tab.

Take-back programs are the best way to dispose of old drugs. Your employees can also take the following steps to safely discard expired or unused medication:

  • take the meds out of their bottles;
  • mix them with something unappealing like used kitty litter or coffee grounds and
  • seal them in a bag or disposable container, and throw that away.

Source: ERS Update Express (April 2021)

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