Since You Asked

I have two gallon freezer bags full of prescription drugs that I want to be rid of. I've called local doctors, hospitals and pharmacies, but no one wants them. A doctor said to put them in used coffee grounds and throw them in the garbage. I don't think the garbage is the proper place to put them.

— Wayne H., Medford

Wayne, the doc is right on this one.

Though it might go against your judgement, it is perfectly acceptable to throw prescription drugs in the garbage as long as you follow a few procedures.

According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy's Web site, first you must take your drugs out of their original containers and mix them with undesirable refuse such as used cat litter or coffee grounds.

This keeps kids from eating the drugs if they should come across them.

Then put the mix of drugs and refuse in a sealable container such as a margarine tub or a sealed plastic bag.

Be sure to conceal any personal information you might have on your pill containers. Identity thieves love nothing more than snatching your information out of the garbage. It is suggested you either peel off the label or mark out the information with a black pen.

Some of your drugs can be flushed away. You can check the label to determine if a drug is safe to flush down the toilet.

For information on drugs that should be flushed, visit the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Web site at

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to

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