Maine Safe Medication Disposal Program

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Spring is in the air, well maybe not quite so much in Maine at the moment. However, I am feeling the pull to start spring cleaning in our home. And with that prompting, comes the reminder to spring clean my medicine cabinet and first aid kits.

Did you know that there is a National Prescription Drug Take Back Day? It is on April 22nd. Which, in my mind is perfect, because it is also Earth Day.

The Safe Medication Disposal Program in Maine has created a Consumer Drug Take-Back program that provides consumers with a safe option to discard their unused or outdated prescription medications in secure kiosks located across the US.

Learning to properly dispose of prescription and over-the-counter medicine is so important when it comes to the environment. People will often flush their expired medicine down the toilet or throw it in the trash. But, when this happens, it very easily can contaminate the environment, and no one wants that. Where we live, we have a septic tank. Flushing any medicine is a big no-no. It will damage the healthy bacteria in the tank, as well as cause groundwater contamination. I am thankful for a service that allows me to properly dispose of these expired medicines.

Spring Clean Your Medicine Cabinet

Over the past couple of months I have been systematically decluttering my home. I had been waiting to go through my first aid closet last, because I didn’t think that I would have much to dispose of. I try to regularly go through our medicine and safely dispose of it periodically. Honestly, I thought that I had done this recently, and so didn’t think that I would have any trouble going through that closet.

However, once I actually started working on our first aid closet, I realized that I had quite a bit of medicine that was expired and needed to be properly disposed of.

It is actually super simple to dispose of these medicines safely. All you need to do is go to the Safemedicine Drop website and enter your zip code. A list of local kiosks will show up. Then all you need to do is bring your expired and unwanted medicine to the kiosk and drop it in. Just like mailing a letter. Make sure that you remove anything that would identify you, and then drop it in the slot.

Why is this important?

As a homeschool mom, it is important to me to make sure my kids understand the purpose of medication. I work to teach my kids about health and wellness and how to properly use medicine, as well as make sure we do not use prescriptions that are not for us.

Safely storing and also safely disposing of unwanted medicine is something that ought to be learned early. We teach our kids to not touch medicine ever. If they see medicine in someone else’s home, to let a trusted adult know. It is important to make sure our kids learn and understand the dangers associated with using medicine not prescribed to them, as well as making sure that they know to go to a trusted adult if they encounter medicine.

When I was in high school, I was in a very serious car accident. I spent weeks at the Shriners Burns Center. Over the years I have had many surgeries and many many prescriptions. It was drilled into me to be careful with all of my medicine. Because of that experience, I make sure that my kids also have that knowledge.

First Steps

Today, set aside time to go through all of your medicine. Both prescriptions as well as over-the-counter medicine. Over the past several years we have all stocked up on a lot more over-the-counter medicine it seems. But, most likely, you did not need it all. So take some time today to go through all of your medicine. What medicine is expired? Set that aside to properly dispose of. If you need to replace medicine, make a note of it.

Go to​  and enter your zip code to see where the closest safe medicine drop kiosk is. Once you find your nearest location, make sure you remove any personal identifying markers on the medicine, bring it to the kiosk, and drop it off. It really is that simple!

You will have done something great for your environment, as well as your home.

The Bottom Line

We all want to make sure our homes are a safe spaces for our kids. Not only is it important to properly dispose of medicine to keep it out of the environment, but it is also important to make sure it is safely stored at home. Make sure it is out of reach of young children. And make sure that your older kids understand not to use medicine that is not their’s.

This month, with National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, take the time to sit down with your kids and go over the importance of this day. Make sure that everyone understands the seriousness of safely disposing of medicine. And then take your kids with you to take back your own expired and unwanted medicine. It can become a field trip of sorts, and a great life lesson.

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