First, remove all personal information and drug names from the label by scratching it off, or marking over it with a permanent marker.
Then take the medications out of their original bottles and mix them in another container (like a sealable bag or empty margarine tub) with an undesirable substance, such as cooking oil, coffee grounds or cat litter.
Then seal the container and throw it in the trash. This will make the medication less appealing to children, pets and unrecognizable to people who may intentionally go through your trash.
There are, however, a few medicines that may be especially harmful or even fatal if used by someone other than the person for whom the medicine was prescribed. These medicines have specific disposal instructions indicating they should be flushed down the sink or toilet as soon as they’re no longer needed and when they cannot be disposed of through a medicine take-back program.
To see an FDA list of medications that should be flushed once expired, go to fda.gov and type “flush drugs” into the search box.
If you have other questions about proper drug disposal, talk to your pharmacist.
And to keep the medications that you and your husband currently use secured and out of reach of your grandchildren and others, lock them up in a drawer, medicine or file cabinet, or consider purchasing a medicine lock box at your local pharmacy or big-box retail store.
Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.