Prescription Drug Take Back Bins: Questions & Answers

Where are the prescription take-back bins located at CHOP?

At CHOP’s Main Hospital in Philadelphia, the take-back bin is located just inside the main entrance on Civic Center Boulevard, directly next to the CHOP Pharmacy and before you enter the atrium.

At our King of Prussia Hospital, you can access the take-back bin through the main entrance. The take-back bin is located behind the Welcome Desk on the right side.

Do my prescriptions need to be in their original packaging? What kind of containers can be put in the take-back bins?

Ideally, prescriptions should be disposed of in their original packaging/container. It is a good idea to remove the label or black out any identifying information from the container before you throw it away.

Does the take-back bin accept over-the-counter drugs, vitamins and dietary supplements? Can I dispose of liquid medications or medications that come in gel or cream form?

Yes, you may dispose of over-the-counter medication, vitamins and dietary supplements in the take-back bin. Liquid medications are also allowed to be disposed of in the bin, but we ask you to keep them in their original containers. Eye drops are also allowed, along with medications that come in gel or cream form.

What substances can NOT be placed in the take-back bins?

No personal care items (skin moisturizers, make-up, shaving cream, sunblock, etc.) can be placed in the take-back bins. No needles – including Epi-Pens – are permitted to be disposed of in the bins.

Please note: No illegal substances (per schedule A, including medical marijuana) can be disposed of in the take-back bins.

Investigational medications should not be placed in the take-back bins. Research participants should return investigational supplies to the research team for accountability/compliance assessment if the trial involves dispensing medication or supplies for home or outpatient use.

What should I do with Epi-Pens and other sharps that I would like to dispose of?

Unfortunately, we are unable to accept Epi-Pens and other sharps in our take-back bins. But we can offer some tips for safely disposing of your sharps. Place your sharps in a large, sturdy plastic container like a laundry detergent bottle. Do not use soda or water bottles. When the container is three-quarters (3/4) full put the cap on and seal the cap with duct tape. Write on the container, "Do Not Recycle." Place the container in the household trash for regular disposal. Do not recycle!

How can I dispose of used inhalers?

Inhalers are accepted in CHOP’s drug take-back bins.

Can I dispose of prescriptions that were not written for a member of our household?

You can only dispose of prescriptions in the take-back bin if they were prescribed for you or your child. You cannot dispose of prescriptions for a third party.

Are there any forms that I need to fill out to use the prescription take back bins?

No, use of the take-back bin is an anonymous process. It is a good idea to remove the label and any identifying information from the container before you throw it away.

How are the drugs in the take-back bins disposed of?

The take-back bins are emptied by two-person teams. The medications and containers are taken to a facility where they are incinerated. At no other time is anyone allowed to open the take-back bin.

When I dropped my prescriptions in the take-back bin, I accidentally dropped my keys/wallet in the bin as well. Is there any way to get them back?

The take-back bins can only be opened during the disposal process. We are not permitted to open them to retrieve personal items. Please make sure to have nothing else in your hand when placing medication in the bin.

When should I flush prescription drugs?

There are certain medications, that if children, adults or pets accidentally or intentionally ingest, touch or misuse just once they can suffer serious consequences or even death. For this reason, the FDA recommends that if you are unable safely dispose of not needed medications in a take-back bin (such as the ones available at CHOP), you should flush them down the toilet to immediately remove the risk to your home and family.

Any medication, including medicated patches, that contain the following drugs should be flushed:

  • Buprenorphine
  • Oxycodone
  • Fentanyl
  • Oxymorphone
  • Hydromorphone (prescribed as Dilaudid®)
  • Tapentadol
  • Meperidine (common brand: Demerol®)
  • Sodium oxybate
  • Methadone
  • Diazepam rectal gel
  • Morphine
  • Methylphenidate transdermal patch (Daytrana®)

The goal is to safely dispose of these medications. If you are unable to dispose of these medications in the take-back bins at CHOP, flushing them is the best way to keep your family safe.

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