Safe Medication Disposal Guide

Renee Manworren, PhD, APN, shares tips on why and how medications should be disposed:

Why should medications be disposed of properly?

Once medications are no longer needed they should be destroyed. Teens report that the most commonly used and addictive medications are easily found in the homes of friends and family members. Left over medications are also the most common source for accidental drug poisoning in children under 6 years of age.

We continue to advise parents to secure all currently needed medications in locked storage containers, out of sight and out of reach of children of all ages.

How can I dispose of medications?

There are a few ways to properly dispose of no longer needed or expired medications. Thanks to drugstores like Walgreens, there are new drug take back programs across the U.S. Many Walgreens across Illinois have set up deposit boxes for unused of expired medications. If your local pharmacy does not have a drug take back program, you can check with your local police department as some will often accept unused and expired medications. If you are unable to find a proper drop-off location, you can dispose of medications at home in your trash. The medicine should be mixed in a substance like cat litter or coffee grounds, place the mixture in a container (i.e. plastic bag), remove personal information on medication label and discard in household trash. Certain medications can be disposed by flushing them down the toilet. For more information on those medications, visit the FDA’s website.

What should you do if your child accidentally ingests medication?

If your child manages to swallow any quantity of unnecessary medicine, take immediate action and get him/her to the nearest emergency room (ER). If possible, bring the container or package of the ingested medication with you to the ER so medical professionals can access the dosage and quantity that was ingested and treat the child accordingly.

Public Controlled Substance Disposal Locations Within 5 Miles of Lurie Children's:

Business Name Address 1 City, State Zip Distance Map
NORTHWESTERN MEMORIAL HOSP 251 E. HURON CHICAGO, IL 60611 0 miles Map
BOND DRUG COMPANY OF ILLINOIS, L.L.C. 641 N CLARK ST CHICAGO, IL 60654 1 miles Map
WALGREEN CO. 151 N. STATE ST. CHICAGO, IL 60601 1 miles Map
WELL FUTURE PHARMACY LLC 1442 S. MICHIGAN AVE. CHICAGO, IL 60605 3 miles Map
BOND DRUG COMPANY OF ILLINOIS, L.L.C. 111 S. HALSTED STREET CHICAGO, IL 60661 2 miles Map
WALGREEN CO. 3405 S KING DR CHICAGO, IL 60616 5 miles Map
BOND DRUG COMPANY OF ILLINOIS, L.L.C. 3201 N. BROADWAY ST. CHICAGO, IL 60657 4 miles Map
WALGREEN CO. 2001 N MILWAUKEE AVE CHICAGO, IL 60647 5 miles Map
BOND DRUG COMPANY OF ILLINOIS, L.L.C. 1931 W CERMAK RD CHICAGO, IL 60608 5 miles Map


Find a location near you.

 

ChildKind International

Lurie Children’s is the seventh hospital in the world and first hospital in Chicago to be accredited as a ChildKind International organization. ChildKind International recognizes healthcare facilities that have developed standardized, institution-wide, collaborative approaches to the treatment of children’s pain.

Sign up for our Newsletter

Get health tips from our pediatric experts, news about ground-breaking research, and feel-good moments delivered right to your inbox.

Subscribe Now


Additional Blog Posts

Keeping Kids Safe During Video Game Play

Shane Rafferty, a technology support specialist at Lurie Children’s, offers guidance on how to go about prioritizing safety for kids who love to game.

Read More

How to Help Kids Safely Watch a Solar Eclipse

A solar eclipse is a spectacular sight. However, experts want to remind everyone not to look directly at the eclipse.

Read More

Poison Prevention: Keeping Kids Safe

Did you know many common household items can be dangerous for kids? Learn all about common poisonous items, warning signs and what to do in an emergency.

Read More