Safe Disposal to Reduce Accidental Poisonings

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 95% of unintentional and undetermined poisoning deaths in the U.S. in 2004 were caused by drugs.1 This is a concern for our children, seniors and pets.  The risk of accidental poisonings can be increased by storing unwanted medicines in our homes.

Fatal poisonings have increased dramatically in our state – up 395% from 1990 to 2006.2 Drug overdoses have now surpassed car crashes as the leading cause of injury death in Washington State.3

Human medications are the leading cause of pet poisonings. Trash-related toxic exposures are called into the Pet Poison Helpline daily. In 2009, the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center handled more than 46,000 cases in the U.S. of pets exposed to prescription and over-the-counter drugs.4

PROTECT YOUR LOVED ONES by storing the medicines that you’re currently using in a secure location. When you have medicines that are expired or unwanted, don’t leave them around your home – dispose of them promptly and responsibly.


1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2008, Poisoning in the United States: Fact Sheet. Available at: 

2 Washington State Department of Health, 2008, Washington State Injury and Violence Prevention Guide-Poisoning and Drug Overdose. Injury and Violence Prevention Program, DOH Publication No. 530-090.  .

3 Washington State Department of Health, 2010, Washington State Injury Data Tables Injury and Violence Prevention Program, DOH Publication No. 530-090. 

4 American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 2010, Top 10 Pet Poisons of 2009 Available at: