Medication Safety, Storage and Disposal

Admin 04 Aug , 2020

Information gathered and prepared by S. Bruni Registered
Pharmacist, Portage Medical Family Health Team


Medication Safety, Storage and Disposal

  • Medication safety is an on-going process from start to finish!
  • Importance of open communication at each stage between you and your prescriber and pharmacist.
  • Don’t hesitate to call with concerns about your medications.
  • Be sure to carry an up-to-date medication list with you. The option to also put a copy on your fridge if you live alone.
  • This can be obtained from your local pharmacy. They may advise you complete a MedsCheck visit to ensure your list is complete.
  • Medic-Alert bracelets for allergies, medical conditions and medications (e.g. blood thinners).

 What should I do with my unused medications?

  • Often expired/unused prescription and over-the-counter medications are left in medicine cabinets/cupboards.
  • This can lead to potential misuse if an individual mistakenly takes an expired or unused prescription medication that may no longer be effective.
  • Medications (prescribed/over-the-counter) that have been prescribed to treat a medical condition for one person, may not be safe for everyone (may interact negatively with other medications or their medical conditions).
  • Please safely dispose of expired/unused medications to ensure they are not taken by someone else in error!

When and how should I return expired medications/needles (sharps)?

Often your pharmacy will accept expired medications. If you’re unsure about returning expired medications at your pharmacy, check with your pharmacy first!

Prescription/Over-the-Counter Drug Disposal (Free of Charge)

Take medications to a household hazardous waste depot or a local pharmacy for proper disposal (free of charge).
Please do not put in the garbage, recycling boxes or pour them down the drain, as this can be harmful to people, animals and the environment!

Disposing of Needles/ Sharps

Place all syringes/sharps in a sealed container (eg. plastic coffee container) or a sharps container.

Contact your local pharmacy to see if they offer free sharps containers for disposal eg. Stericycle. Often the pharmacy requires any needles/sharps to be returned in a proper SHARPS disposal container.

Other options: bring the container to a Household Hazardous Waste Depot (see below for the Niagara Area).

 Waste Info Line: 905-356-4141

Humberstone Landfill
700 Humberstone Rd. Welland, ON
Bridge St. Drop-Off Depot 1300 Bridge St. Fort Erie, ON
Thorold Yard Household Hazardous Waste Drop-off Depot 3557 Thorold Townline Rd. Thorold, ON