Like most websites, we use cookies and other similar technologies for a number of reasons, such as keeping our website reliable and secure, personalizing content, providing social media features and to better understand how our site is used. By using our site, you are agreeing to our use of these tools. Learn More

Your Location is set to:

Published on October 17, 2016

A new way to dispose of unused or expired medicationsA new way to dispose of unused or expired medications

A new service of the community pharmacy at Cape Cod Hospital will make disposing of household medications quicker, easier and safer. Beginning next month, residents will be able to drop their medications at no charge into a secure container inside the pharmacy.

“We get a lot of questions about how to dispose of medications,” said Peter Scarafile, Rph, MS, director of Cape Cod Healthcare Pharmacies. “Until now, police departments have been the only sites where the public can dispose of medications because they have someone to watch it 24 hours a day.”

It may look like postal collection box but the large blue, metal receptacle inside the pharmacy will be as secure as Fort Knox. A camera will continually monitor the box and it will only be accessible when the pharmacy is open.

And unlike the mail system, disposal of medications will be free.

To make drop-off easier, Cape Cod Hospital is offering curbside service.

“Just pull your car up to the curb where valets are located at the main entrance and they will hold your car up to 15 minutes,” said Scarafile. “This is available for any service at the pharmacy including picking up prescriptions and purchasing over the counter medications.”

Residents can drop off their expired or unused medications during pharmacy hours:

  • Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, Sunday and holidays from 8 am to 4 pm.

A New Alliance

Proper disposal of medications is a new alliance between the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to save the environment and dispose of medications safely, according to Scarafile.

“The EPA is concerned about medications contaminating the groundwater and the DEA is concerned about preventing drug abuse,” he said.

The National Family Partnership, an organization that brings awareness through their Lock Your Meds campaign reports that 70 percent of adolescents 12 and older who abuse prescription medications got them from their family or friends.

Proper disposal is one of the many steps in their campaign with a reminder that October 22, 2016 is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. Residents can check with their local police departments for participation in the take back program.

What You Can And Cannot Drop Off

Acceptable medications for disposal:

  • Pills, tablets, capsules
  • Ointments
  • Creams
  • Lotions
  • Powders
  • Liquid medicines (no more than 4 ounces), including solutions and suspensions. Liquids must be in their original containers, wrapped in a paper towel and sealed in a plastic bag before being placed in the box.

Unacceptable for disposal:

  • Aerosol spray cans*
  • Alcohol or hydrogen peroxide
  • Needles, syringes or sharps containers
  • More than 4 ounces of liquid*
  • Trash
  • Mercury thermometers*
  • Batteries*
  • Chemicals*
  • Home-based care (HBC) or durable medical equipment (DME) supplies

*Contact your town’s household hazardous waste department

The medications dropped off at the CCH Pharmacy will be disposed of by a company that specializes in transporting secure containers. The medications will be taken to an incineration site for disposal.