Safe Disposal of Medications

Once the expiration date for a medication has passed, there is no guarantee that the medicine will be safe and effective. If your medicine has expired, do not use it. Expired medications may:

  • have changes in chemical composition or a decrease in strength
  • be at risk of bacterial growth
  • fail to treat infections, leading to more serious illnesses and antibiotic resistance
  • be a risk to the person they were prescribed for and can injure children and pets if taken by mistake

For all these reasons, proper disposal of unneeded medicines is essential.

The preferred method for medication disposal is year-round drop off sites. These include local pharmacies, hospitals, and police stations. The DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) provides a ZIP code search tool to find the closest drop off site located near you. The US Department of Health and Human Services provides additional information about the safe disposal of prescription drugs.

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield is an HMO plan and PPO plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in Excellus BlueCross BlueShield depends on contract renewal. Submit a complaint about your Medicare plan at or learn about filing a complaint by contacting the Medicare Ombudsman. Y0028_9775_C.

This page last updated 10-01-2023.


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