how and where to dispose of unused medicine

Medications can enter waterways and contaminate our water when flushed down drains or disposed of in landfills, which affects our environment and drinking water. Medicines can also be a danger to your child or pet, so it’s best not to leave them sitting around when not in use. Your medicine cabinet might contain expired drugs that you no longer use. See below for the best way to dispose of your expired, unwanted, or unused medicines.

Annual Drug Take Back Programs

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) sponsors National Prescription Drug Take Back Day in communities nationwide in April. Many communities also have their own drug take back programs.

Year-round Drug Take Back Programs

Click here to find a year-round DEA-authorized location in Miami.

Check with your local police department. The Coral Gables Police and Fire Headquarters located at 2151 Salzedo Street has a drop-off bin located in the lobby where individuals can drop off their expired/unwanted prescription drugs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Another alternative is to check with your pharmacist. Some pharmacies offer on-site medicine drop-off boxes, mail-back programs, and other ways to help you safely dispose your unused medicines.

Proper Disposal Method

Scratch out all your personal information on the empty medicine packaging or remove the portion with your name and barcode to protect your identity and privacy.

Accepted Items

  • Prescription medicines
  • Prescription patches
  • Over-the counter medication
  • Ointments
  • Vitamins
  • Medication samples


  • Aerosol cans
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Needles/Syringes/Sharps (check with your primary care physician or pharmacy for proper disposal)
  • Medications from businesses or clinics
  • Thermometers
  • Non-prescription ointments, lotions or liquids.

Active Medications

If you live in a household with children, it is best to keep the medications you are currently using in a locked closet or a container such as this one: