AGEWISE: How to Dispose of Medications Safely | Local News

Q: I was cleaning out Mom’s medicine cabinet and I’m afraid to throw away the medicine she no longer uses. Is there a certain way to get rid of prescription drugs? —BT

Answer: It is very important to exercise caution when disposing of unused medicines to avoid household accidents and other potentially dangerous situations.

Drugs that are safe for one person may be harmful or even illegal for someone else. The best way to dispose of unused medication is through a medication take-back program. Many local law enforcement agencies and pharmacies have drop boxes where you can hand over prescription drugs for safe disposal. Some places are not able to accept liquid medication or syringes. Be sure to call ahead for restrictions.

In Forsyth County, the following law enforcement locations have drug drop boxes:

• Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office at 301 N. Church St.

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• Winston-Salem Police Department District Offices at 1539 Waughtown St., 7836 North Point Blvd. and 2393 Winterhaven Lane

• Kernersville Police Department at 134 E. Mountain St.

The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) has a drug locator tool on its website to help individuals locate prescription drug drop boxes at pharmacies nationwide. To find a drop box by zip code, visit their website at

If a person is unable to deliver unused medications to any of the above locations, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends the following precautions before disposing of medications in household trash:

1. Remove medications from their original containers and mix them with something unwanted, such as used coffee grounds, dirt, or kitty litter. This makes the drug less appealing to children and pets and unrecognizable to someone who might intentionally rummage through the trash.

2. Put the mixture in something you can close (a resealable zippered storage bag, empty box, or other container) to prevent the medicine from leaking or spilling.

3. Throw the container in the trash.

4. Scratch all your personal information on the empty medicine package to protect your identity and privacy. Discard the packaging.

For information from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on how to safely dispose of unused medications, see medicines.

Q: Are there any upcoming social events to connect veterans? – HER

Answer: On the second Wednesday of each month, Trellis Supportive Care hosts fellowship events called Veterans Coffees to connect, support and honor serving men and women with a network of peers and valuable community resources. A complimentary continental breakfast is served and area organizations that provide veteran support programs and activities are invited to speak and provide updates on additional resources and upcoming events focused on veterans.

The cafes have been around since 2015, and they’re an opportunity for veterans to enjoy conversation and connection, while gaining support from a caring community. During the pandemic, Trellis Supportive Care held the coffees as virtual gatherings via Zoom, but the in-person coffees are back and will be held at various locations in our area. The next Veterans Coffee will be at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, July 13 at the Richard Childress Racing Banquet Hall, 425 Industrial Drive. This particular cafe will pay homage to veterans who served during the Korean War era.

For more information about Veteran Cafes or to register, contact Don Timmons, Community Partnerships and Veteran Support Coordinator, at [email protected]

AgeWise is a weekly column compiled by the staff of Senior Services Inc., a Winston-Salem nonprofit organization. If you have a question, email [email protected] or mail Senior Services, 2895 Shorefair Drive, Winston-Salem, NC 27105.

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