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Disposing of Unwanted Medications

Santa Monica, CA-

It’s not uncommon for patients to take their unwanted medication and, with good intentions, give it to a family member or friend complaining of similar symptoms who has not yet seen a physician and failed to be evaluated. Controlled substances pose additional safety hazards. While young exploring children may take them accidentally, teens and adults may take them to experiment - creating potential or continued drug abuse behavior. In fact, many instances of misused opioids in the United States are the result of leftover medications obtained by family and friends.

The reality is that many patients and physicians alike often do not know how to properly dispose of unwanted medications. Often times, "some patients kind heartily offer their unused medications back to our office", says Dr. Bernard Geller. However, according to the DEA, physician offices do not qualify as those authorized to collect medications and it is NOT advisable for physicians or office staff to accept, take back, or dispose of any unused, unwanted, or expired medications. 

To avoid diversion and decrease the potential abuse of prescription medications, the DEA began take-back programs. These consist of designated drop boxes where patients can anonymously turn in unwanted prescription medications – no questions asked. However, since these national and local events are typically held only a couple of times a year, it is also recommended to check with local pharmacies and Sheriff’s Departments for regular positioned prescription drop box locations in your area.



For other questions, please visit our website at, or reach us by telephone: (310)828-8534 or by e-mail:

Dora Afrahim, MPAP, PA-C

Allergy & Clinical Immunology Medical Group


Dora Afrahim, PA-C Dora Afrahim is a board-certified Physician Assistant. She received her Bachelor's degree from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and then received her Master's degree from Keck School of Medicine USC. Her training includes general medicine as well as diagnosing and developing individualized treatment plans for patients who suffer from allergies, asthma, and other disorders of the immune system. Dora is a Southern California native and was inspired to specialize in Allergy & Immunology by her desire to help improve her patient’s quality of life. In her spare time, she enjoys cycling, hiking, traveling and volunteering.

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