Proper Disposal of Meds

  1. What is the correct and proper way to dispose of meds in the hospital setting? Crush and throw in trash? What about narcotics?
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    About scorpio99

    Joined: May '09; Posts: 5; Likes: 2

    8 Comments

  3. by   Whispera
    there's another discussion on this topic at

    Medicine disposal
  4. by   FLArn
    The latest method we are using is to crush and liquefy all meds, pour into plastic bag with a few inches kitty litter to absorb meds, place sealed plastic bag inside paper bag and place in trash. This is in accordance with Florida governmental policy(don't remember which agency)
  5. by   nminodob
    People are saying they dispose into cat litter/liquid detergent/flour, etc and then throw in trash. How does this decrease the bioavailability of the drug when it gets absorbed into the groundwater? Seems like you could just throw it into the dirt in the backyard and end up with the same problem...
  6. by   FireStarterRN
    With all the crap in the sewer system I find in laughable to be agonizing over a few meds flushed down the toilet.

    Think of what we flush:
    *Draino
    *Cleaning solutions
    *Human excrement
    *Urine
    *Bloody tampons

    So now we're worked up about a few medications?
  7. by   CABG patch kid
    Quote from FLArn
    The latest method we are using is to crush and liquefy all meds, pour into plastic bag with a few inches kitty litter to absorb meds, place sealed plastic bag inside paper bag and place in trash. This is in accordance with Florida governmental policy(don't remember which agency)
    That sounds like a lot of work! We just have a blue bin that we put them in, or if I'm in a pt's room, just toss in the sharps bin (not sure if you're supposed to do that but a lot of nurses do :imbar)

    To answer the OP's question regarding narcotics, those are properly "wasted" with another nurse, meaning another nurse witnesses and signs off the sheet, then put in blue bin.
  8. by   Mimi2RN
    We use a blue bin, too. It's for everything, including TPN and other IV fluids and tubing. These pharmacy containers are sealed and incinerated.
  9. by   nminodob
    I'm no expert, but my understanding of waste water treatment is that organic compounds are removed and chlorine/chloramines are added to reduce the bacterial count. I don't think there is anything in place to remove drugs, hormones, etc., and this is why they are turning up in minute quantities in drinking water. It stands to reason that as municipal water gets re-used in bottling plants and other consumables that what is minute now will begin to increase exponentially if the problem is not addressed.
  10. by   Nurturer3
    In my facility, for IV meds we dispose of the liquid in the trash bin, then the vial in the sharps container. For pills they are placed in the sharps container intact.

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