Expired and unwanted medications piling up in the home are a significant public safety and health hazard in the home. But what are the proper ways to dispose of these medicines? Here are some tips created in partnership with the Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments:
- Take advantage of community pharmaceutical take-back programs that allow the public to bring unused drugs to a central location for proper disposal. Take-back programs are held every spring and fall in Androscoggin County. Click here for more details. You can also check out the DEA’s website for locations across Maine and the United States.
- Permanent medicine drop boxes purchased by Healthy Androscoggin are available year round in seven communities in Androscoggin County. If you are a resident of one of these communities you can dispose of unwanted medicines whenever the appropriate facility is open. Boxes are located in these communities:
- Lisbon-Lisbon Police Department
- Sabattus-Sabattus Police Department
- Auburn-Auburn Police Department
- Mechanic Falls-Police Department
- Greene-Sheriff’s Office
- Poland-Town Office
- Turner- 19 General Turner Hill Rd.
- Drop boxes are coordinated by the police department in each community. Boxes in Mechanic Falls and Greene are managed by the Androscoggin Sheriff’s Department. Contact the appropriate law enforcement agency for more details.
- Unless the directions say otherwise, do NOT flush medications down the drain or toilet because the chemicals can pollute the water supplies, rivers, and lakes.
- If you must dispose of medications in the household trash, mix the drugs with an undesirable substance, such as used coffee grounds or kitty litter, and put them in containers, such as empty cans or sealable bags, to make sure the drugs aren’t found and abused by someone else.
- Secure and keep track of the medications in your home. Conduct an inventory of your medicines at least once a month. Download our free medicine inventory log and tracking sheet.
What to do with Sharps?
Accidental needle-sticks from improperly disposed syringes are an unwanted reality for thousands of people each year. That’s why the Environmental Protection Agency began advising the public of the proper disposal of syringes with the mailback product being a recommended solution.
The Sharps Disposal by Mail System(R) is government-approved and includes a specially designed mailable sharps container, a postage prepaid return shipping box with bar-code tracking, a protective 4-mil bag liner, instructions in both English and Spanish, and a multi-part simplified manifest tracking form. The cost of mailing, disposal, and confirmation of destruction is included in the purchase price. For more information visit: www.sharpsinc.com
Sharps Drop-off/Needle Exchange Sites in Maine:Maine Family Planning Lewiston Family Planning clinic 179 Lisbon Street Lewiston, ME 04240 207-795-4007 Open every Tuesday 10:00 AM – 5:30 PM (Call Number above for more details) Maine General Medical Center 6 E Chestnut Street Augusta, ME 04330 207-626-1000 Portland Needle Exchange 103 India Street Portland, ME 04101 207-874-8446 firstname.lastname@example.org
How can I find more information about disposing of Sharps?
Call your trash or public health department, listed in the city or county government (blue) pages.
Check the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website at www.cdc.gov/needledisposal
Ask your health care provider or local pharmacist if they can dispose of your used needles.
Contact the Coalition for Safe Community Needle Disposal at (800)643-1643.
To learn more about rules regarding medical waste disposal, consult EPA’s Medical Waste website at http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/index.htm