Q. I’ve read about the difficulties of disposing of unused drugs and want to share my solution. I poured Elmer’s glue into the pill container to cover the pills and let it set before putting the container in the trash.

A. That sounds like an innovative solution for the problem of drug disposal. Thanks for sharing it.

Join Over 55,000 Subscribers at The People's Pharmacy

Each week we send two free email newsletters with breaking health news, prescription drug information, home remedies and a preview of our award-winning radio show. Join our mailing list and get the information you need to make confident choices about your health.

  1. ML
    Reply

    I checked with the pharmacist of a chain drug store, and she told me that if I bring the unused pills to them, they would safely incinerate them.

  2. KB
    Reply

    With the cost of prescription drugs and healthcare, I acknowledge the potential hazards from abuse… but it would be nice to be able to return unused prescription drugs to the prescribing doctor or another source so they can give them to patients who cannot afford them [like free samples].
    I also have several boxes of unopened contact lenses that are no longer my prescrition–similarly, I’d love somewhere to donate or give these away instead of adding to a landfill. Any ideas?

  3. BT
    Reply

    The subject of safe disposal of outdated prescription medication has perplexed me. A local drug store has no outlet, but suggested I check with the local hazardous waste people. This subject probably isn’t on their watch list. My thought is to incinerate the pills, but then I wonder if that would create toxic ash, and present a problem of disposal of such. If not, this could be a sideline business for a crematory. Any thoughts people?

  4. D.G.
    Reply

    Here in Ontario, Canada, we are encouraged to take unused and outdated meds to our local pharmacy for disposal. As long as the pharmacy has good disposal practices, there is no problem with contamination to the environment.

  5. CB
    Reply

    You might try taking unused medications to your local pharmacy for safe disposal — all pharmacies in the UK do this and I don’t see how US pharmacies could refuse to do this.

  6. Joyce Davis
    Reply

    When my husband died there were many unused drugs. The Hospice nurse flushed the morphine down the toilet while I watched, which she said was required. The rest I took to my pharmacist, who disposed of them for me.

  7. L. S.
    Reply

    Since Elmer’s glue is water soluble, the only thing this will do is keep someone from recovering loose pills from the garbage (including animals), which is helpful. But as far as keeping the contents out of the soil, it will only delay it.

  8. Mary Jo Koranda
    Reply

    Any place that sells scripts should provide recycling for unused portions. Just as stores provide recycling for fluorescent bulbs. This is a solution but not a “green” one.

  9. ML
    Reply

    Will this prevent the drugs from getting into the water table? I am unsure why you would do this, can you expand on it?
    Thank you for the interesting idea.

What Do You Think?

Share your thoughts with others, but be mindful of protecting your own and others' privacy. Not all comments will be posted. Advice from web visitors is not a substitute for medical attention. Do not stop any medicine without checking with the prescriber. In posting a comment, you agree to our commenting policy and website terms and conditions.