Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet Safely

Did you know that four of five heroin addicts started out with abuse of prescription opiates? Or that home medicines are a leading cause of preventable poisoning for children under age six? Make sure your children don’t get in to medications that could harm them, and remove temptation from teenagers who might want to experiment, by only keeping medications on hand that you plan to use and that are not expired.

What to get rid of from your medicine cabinet

Clean out these items from your medicine cabinet:

  • Expired medications, both prescription and over-the-counter
  • Prescription medications that you did not completely use up, and that you no longer need
  • Over-the-counter medicine that you do not need or plan to use
  • Pet medications that you did not completely use up

Empty over-the-counter bottles can be recycled (leave the cap snapped on). Empty prescription medicine bottles (the orange ones) should be thrown away.

Kirkland Justice Center secure medicine return drop box

Residents can safely dispose of prescription medication at the Kirkland Justice Center during building hours.

How to dispose of medicine safely

Getting rid of unneeded and expired medications is important to keep our families and community safe. It’s also important to dispose of medications properly to protect our waterways and wildlife. You should never flush medications, which are not able to be treated by our sewer system. Instead, use a secure medicine return program.

In Kirkland, we have five secure medicine return drop-off points. (If none of the Kirkland options are convenient, you can find more options in cities around King County.) Add dropping off your prescription medications to this week’s errand list. Bring items in their original packaging, or place pills in a secured zippered bag.