I have a small orange bottle in my bathroom cabinet with a couple painkillers leftover from the time I got my wisdom teeth out a few years ago. They're way out of date. I should toss 'em. BUT HOW?? According to the FDA, flushing is a no-no; proper protocol is mixing them with kitty litter before bagging them up and throwing them out.
Well, actually, the agency recommends kitty litter, coffee grounds, or any "undesirable substance." That seems… weird. Right? For a second I (very foolishly) thought—whoa, do those somehow neutralize the medicine's effect? Duh. No (idiot). But it will potentially put off kids and pets and anyone scrounging through your garbage looking for goodies.
I live pretty pill free, which is why I've probably never even thought about what to do with old drugs before. But the FDA's guidelines for disposal of unused meds is worth a look if you're a pharmacy regular but (somehow) always end up with extras and aren't into any kind of black market shenanigans.
For those iffy on the particulars, there are actually no-questions-asked take-back days. Last November's day netted a staggering 647,211 pounds of expired and unwanted medications. Now we're just left to wonder where those 324 tons of contraband end up after that. The next Take-Back day is April 26th. [Everyday Health]