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How to Safely Dispose of Unused Medications

Community

Pharmacy Manager, Shawnee Mission Medical Center Pharmacy

With opioid addiction at a crisis level in our country, it’s more important than ever to dispose of expired or unused prescription drugs. 

As part of its overall community health plan, Shawnee Mission Health has joined other local organizations in the cause by installing an onsite MedSafe® collection box.

Why Get Rid of Your Unused Medications?

Properly disposing of unused drugs keeps you and your community safe in the following ways:

  • It prevents unintentional poisoning of children and pets.
  • It deters intentional misuse by teenagers and adults.
  • It keeps medicines from entering streams and rivers if they are poured down the drain or flushed down the toilet.

What Items are Accepted at the Collection Site?

Materials accepted include:

  • Prescription Medications
  • Prescription Patches
  • Prescription Ointments
  • Over-the-Counter Medications
  • Liquid medications less than four ounces
  • Vitamins
  • Samples
  • Medications for Pets


*Note: Only legally held controlled drugs and narcotics are accepted.

What Items are NOT Accepted at the Collection Site?

  • Liquids over four ounces
  • Needles and other “sharps,” such as lancets
  • Sharps containers
  • Syringes
  • Batteries
  • Aerosol spray cans
  • Other hazardous materials

Where to Go

Shawnee Mission Medical Center, Outpatient Pharmacy

9100 W 74th Street

Shawnee Mission, KS


  • Enter via Grandview at 75th Street.
  • Use one of two parking spots marked "pharmacy" in the lot just to the west and south of the circle drive at the main entrance.
  • Proceed to the pharmacy, which is located inside the gift shop at the main entrance.
  • A pharmacist or technician will accept your medications.

When to Go

Hours are 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding major holidays.

How to Prepare Your Drugs for Disposal

  • Leave medications in their original containers or packaging when possible.
  • Protect your privacy by peeling off the prescription label or use a permanent marker to cover your personal information.
  • Ointments, lotions or liquids should be sealed in a plastic bag.

What to Do if You Can’t Go to the Collection Site

If you’re unable to deliver your drugs or have materials that are not allowed at the safe collection site, follow these steps for properly disposing of them at home:

  • Mix medicines with an unpalatable substance, such as dirt, kitty litter or used coffee grounds.  Do not crush tablets or capsules.
  • Place the mixture in a sealed container.
  • Throw the container in your household trash.
  • Scratch out all personal information on the prescription label of your empty pill bottle or packaging to make it unreadable, then dispose of the container.

To dispose of needles and other sharps:

  • Place used sharps in an empty container, like a laundry detergent bottle or other opaque, sturdy container with a screw-top lid.
  • Mark the bottle “Do Not Recycle” and store with the cap on tightly. 
  • Insert needles point first.
  • When the container is half full, seal the cap with duct tape and place in your home garbage (not recycling).
  • Never place loose needles, syringes or lancets in the trash. 

When in doubt, check with your pharmacist for advice.

The Shawnee Mission Medical Center Pharmacy is licensed and registered with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as a collector. 

For information about other county-wide collection sites here.