How to safely dispose of opioids

Helping keep our families and communities safe from opioids is a huge responsibility we all share, and our actions can directly influence the opioid epidemic. From educating others on the dangers of opioids, to encouraging an addict to get the help they need, we all can make an impact. One of the most overlooked measures we can take to help combat the opioid epidemic, is surprisingly easy and starts at home: How can you safely dispose of opioids.

Unsuspecting Danger

Negligence to get rid of unused and expired prescription medications can lead to serious consequences. Opioids are highly addictive and can lead to severe side effects, including overdose and death. Having opioid medications in your medicine cabinet, that are not currently being taken under the order of a physician, presents a risk to others in the home. Expired medications may not work as intended, leading to taking a higher dose or increased side effects. Leaving unused opioids in your home also makes you a target for theft. It is important to develop a plan with your doctor beforehand, to safely dispose of the opioids when you no longer need them.

Removing the Risk

The U.S. has launched a public service campaign raising awareness of the serious dangers of keeping unused prescription pain medications in the home and provides instructions on how to safely dispose of these medicines. Recommended steps to safely dispose of opioids are:

  • Drug Take Back Events
  • Drop-Box Collection Receptacles
  • Local Pharmacies & Police Stations
  • Flushing (See FDA Flush List)

Available Options

The most common disposal option are drug take backs programs, in which a government agency or pharmacy will allow an individual to securely dispose of any unwanted prescription drugs. Flushing prescription medication down the toilet is possible, as long as it is approved on the FDA Flush List. Throwing medications in the garbage is usually not recommended, due to the fact it still may end up in the hands of children or household pets.


In conclusion, one of the most effective roles we can play in the opioid epidemic is to ensure any opioids we are prescribed are safely disposed of when no longer needed. This will ensure the dangerous drugs do not get found by someone searching through a medicine cabinet, or sold on the streets to addicts, exacerbating the opioid epidemic. At ANR Clinic, our patients and their loved one’s safety is our top priority. Following the ANR Treatment, the patient’s endorphin system will be restored to a pre-addiction state, therefore eliminating the need to keep dangerous substitute medications such as Suboxone in your home, and finally be free from opioid addiction, without the withdrawals or cravings.

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