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Medicine take back programs protect your loved ones and the environment

How many partial bottles of unused medication or expired medication do you have in your medicine cabinet right now? Maybe there are painkillers you decided you didn’t really need, mixed in with other random prescriptions that have been there so long you can’t recall what they’re for. 

Those leftover pills are still in your medicine cabinet, right?  

You might want to check, because access to unused medications offers a dangerous opportunity for illegal use and abuse by children and teens. “Kids who pilfer their parents’ and grandparents’ medicine cabinets have no idea what they’re getting into,” says Lorraine Tusing, research project manager II for Geisinger’s Center for Pharmacy Innovation and Outcomes Research. “There’s the risk of overdose and addiction. Plus, when you combine medications that were never meant to be mixed, anything can happen —and sometimes it does.”

Once you’ve secured your unused prescriptions, what should you do with them? Throwing them in the trash or flushing them down the toilet might seem like good solutions. But if they end up in a landfill or a waterway, they can harm the environment — and eventually find their way into our water supply. 

How to dispose of medication

That’s why Geisinger has installed medication drop off boxes at numerous convenient locations throughout northeast and central Pennsylvania. Bring your unused, old and expired medications to us, drop them in the box, and we’ll transport them for thermal destruction. You’ll never have to worry about them again, and your loved ones and the environment will be protected. We accept prescription and over-the-counter medications (commonly referred to as OTC medications) such as:

  • Solid tablets and capsules
  • Liquids in their original containers
  • Prescription patches
  • Medical creams and ointments
  • Vitamins
  • Nasal sprays
  • Pet medications
  • Narcotics and controlled substances

Find a medication disposal near me

Our drop boxes are locked tight and under security surveillance, so narcotics and controlled substances are safe with us — and you’ll be safe dropping them off.

There are certain substances we cannot accept: intravenous solutions, injectables, syringes, needles, hydrogen peroxide, compressed cylinders or aerosols (like asthma inhalers), iodine-containing medications, thermometers or alcohol. 

Ms. Tusing recommends that you leave your prescriptions in their original bottles whenever possible.  

Geisinger supports 38 medication drop off boxes in 15 counties across central and northeast Pennsylvania. The medicine disposal boxes are located in Geisinger hospitals or CareSite pharmacies, as well as other retail locations including many Weis Markets pharmacies and independent community pharmacies. Click here for a complete list of medication drop off locations.

Uncluttering your cabinets is always a good idea. And when it means getting rid of substances that can harm your loved ones, it’s even better. Look for our convenient blue-and-white drop boxes the next time you’re out running errands. 

Next steps

Find medication disposal near me