Proper and Safe Drug Disposal

 

medicine disposal tips copy

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 five 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 five communities:CITlisbondrugsSAP092812
    • Lisbon
    • Sabattus
    • Auburn
    • Mechanic Falls
    • Greene
  • 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?needle

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
mjr@ci.portland.me.us
 

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