Maryland Prescription Drug Disposal
Do you have old, expired, unwanted, or unused prescriptions or over-the-counter drugs in your medicine cabinet? As the opioid epidemic continues to impact Maryland families, at rates higher than other parts of the country, safe disposal of medications is a top concern. That way pills don't end up in the wrong hands. Medication can also cause environmental problems when improperly disposed of in the trash or toilet.
Drug Take Back Day
You can get rid of old medication during the Take Back Day in the fall and spring, at a year round safe collection site or with a drug disposal pouch.
211 Maryland and the Rx Abuse Leadership Initiative (RALI) of Maryland are partners in stopping the opioid epidemic. RALI provides free disposal pouches that allow you to safely dissolve medication at home. The pouch can be thrown in the trash without worry of harming the environment.
Text MDHope to 898-211 to request a free disposal pouch. Press 1 for education/prevention and then 3 for safe prescription disposal.
Data and messaging rates may apply.
The MDHope texting program also provides opioid-related resources and support for individuals, families and professionals. The free, on-demand texting service connects Marylanders to resources they need for detox and treatment.
Prescription drug disposal near me
The next national drug take-back event is Saturday, April 24, 2021 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Several Maryland locations are participating. It's a contactless event, ensuring the safety of everyone participating. You're encouraged to wear a face mask.
Search the Drug Enforcement Agency's database by Zip Code to find a local drug take-back site in Maryland.
At the last event at Johns Hopkins, which is a participant again this year, they collected 498 pounds of medication.
9.9 million Americans misuse prescription drugs according to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, with the majority coming from family, friends, and the home medicine cabinet.
Drug take-back events or 24/7 disposal sites are the best way to throw away old medication.
Maryland take-back events happen twice a year, in the fall and spring. Plus, some drugstores and police departments have disposal boxes that you can use any time during the year.
The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy has a zip code search to find a local disposal box that's always available.
Walgreens also has its own search for drug kiosks that are available during pharmacy hours.
Several Maryland police departments have drug boxes, that allow an individual to walk in and dispose of medications at any time. Search for a Maryland drug box.
You can also request a free at-home prescription drug disposal pouch. You simply fill the bag with medication, add a little water, shake it and throw the pouch away. Text MDHope to 898-211 to request a pouch from RALI Maryland. Data and messaging rates may apply.
How to safely throw away drugs in Maryland
If you can't find an ongoing drug disposal site near you or wait for the next take-back day, you can flush some medications down the toilet or throw them in the trash.
Again, it’s best to properly dispose of them if possible. When poured down the sink or flushed down the toilet, the drugs go to a wastewater treatment plant. These plants are not designed to routinely remove medications. As a result, medicine can leech into groundwater, rivers, and streams getting into drinking water sources.
However, some drugs are so dangerous when in the wrong hands and so commonly misused, that the Food and Drug Administration created an approved flush list. Only flush medications on this list if no other options are available.
These medications can cause death from one dose if taken inappropriately. The FDA believes the risk of accidental exposure far outweighs environmental concerns, for certain drugs.
You can also look into drug disposal bags. It's a sealable pouch with carbon. You add your medication and a little water, and the carbon deactivates the medication making it safe to throw in the trash.
The third alternative is mixing the medication with cat litter or coffee grounds and sealing it in a disposable container. This may be an empty yogurt container or a sealable bag. Remove the sticker on the medication bottle or use a permanent marker to remove identifiable information and throw the empty bottle away separately.
Fourth, request a disposal pouch. Text MDHope to 898-211 to request one. Data and messaging rates may apply.
Misuse of drugs
211 Maryland has seen a 57-percent increase in opioid-related calls in the last three years. Of all substance abuse calls, the majority are looking for counseling and inpatient treatments. Our call specialists use our vast database of essential resources to connect callers with the best programs for their unmet needs.
Preventing drug misuse from ever happening is one of the best ways you can make a difference in the opioid epidemic.
Why get rid of drugs safely?
1. Keeps drugs out of the hands of teenagers or adults.
2. Prevents them from being stolen or sold illegally.
2. Prevents poisonings of children and pets.
3. Protects the environment
MD Hope: Maryland Opioid-related support
If you know someone who is using drugs or are seeking help for yourself or a client, text MDHope to 8-9-8-2-1-1. 211 Maryland is teaming up with RALI Maryland for a unique texting program that connects individuals, family members, friends, and professionals with on-demand essential opioid resources.
The text messages also contain bi-weekly support and affirmations.
At any time, the individual can talk with a trained resource specialist by dialing 2-1-1 and then pressing 1.