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Pharmaceutical Waste Disposal

Regulations in Wisconsin regarding the disposal of prescription drugs (pharmaceutical waste) may be changing in the near future. Currently it is illegal to possess a prescription medication that has not been specifically prescribed to you by a doctor. 


The EPA and the FDA have recommended the following two procedures for disposing of unwanted medications:

  1. Most medicine should be disposed of in a landfill (normal trash) with some additional precautions to protect the environment.  The guidelines are available here:
  2. Certain controlled substances or pain killers that are commonly abused should be disposed of by flushing them down the drain.  The listing is found hereMore information from the FDA can be found on the FDA's website


Controlled substances used in research are strictly regulated and require a DEA license. Guidelines for working with controlled substances can be found at the University of Wisconsin System Administration Page.

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