Sanitation Services - Frequently Asked Questions
Disposing of Medications
Periodically the City of Dallas Waste Diversion & Disposal Department hosts medication collection events. These collections are coordinated with the Dallas Police Department because the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has strict regulations regarding medication collections. There are not currently any medication collection events scheduled in Dallas
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration has issued federal guidelines on how to dispose of medications when there is not a medication collection program available.
The federal guidelines are summarized below:
- Follow any specific disposal instructions on the drug label or patient information that accompanies the medication. Do not flush prescription drugs down the toilet unless this information specifically instructs you to do so.
- If no instructions are given on the drug label and no take-back program is available in your area, throw the drugs in the household trash, but first:
- Take them out of their original containers and mix them with an undesirable substance, such as used coffee grounds or kitty litter. The medication will be less appealing to children and pets, and unrecognizable to people who may intentionally go through your trash.
- Put them in a sealable bag, empty can, or other container to prevent the medication from leaking or breaking out of a garbage bag.
Additional recommendations include:
- Before throwing out a medicine container, scratch out all identifying information on the prescription label to make it unreadable. This will help protect your identity and the privacy of your personal health information.
- Do not give medications to friends. Doctors prescribe drugs based on a person's specific symptoms and medical history. A drug that works for you could be dangerous for someone else.
- When in doubt about proper disposal, talk to your pharmacist.
Information about City of Dallas medication collections will be posted in advance of the event on the City of Dallas web page, the Dallas Police Department web page, or you can sign up to receive email alerts for city news and information by going to: govdelivery.com and entering your email address.