Updated May 2014
Maybe you’ve tried a medication and found after a dose or two that it didn’t help but you don’t want to throw it away. Could it be helpful to others? You might have a walker or hospital bed that you no longer need. What can you do with it?
While many state independent living centers, condition specific organizations (e.g Parkinson's Disease Foundation), and various community groups have established “loan closets,” where durable medical goods, such as walkers and wheelchairs, can be donated and loaned out to those that need them, medications are a very different matter.
To learn about your state's Prescription Drug Repository try the following:
• The National Conference for State Legislatures State Prescription Drug Return, Reuse and Recycling Laws
• Contact the local chapter of condition specific organizations (e.g. American Cancer Society)
• Google your state’s name with "Prescription Drug Repository"
• Ask your medical provider.
Donations for other countries: There are organizations that collect medications and supplies for other countries. Check out the following sites:
• Afya Foundation: Collects and sends no longer needed medical and humanitarian supplies to help people in Haiti and African Nations.
• AID for AIDS: Operates the largest HIV medicine recycling program in the world. In addition to HIV medications, they also accept medications to treat opportunistic infections such as antifungals (e.g. Floconazole, Spornox) and antibiotics (e.g. Cipro, Amoxicilin) . They do not accept narcotics or any narcotic derivatives.
While working in AIDS, a number of people used the Internet to solicit medications they were running out of and to find out who might be able to use medications that no longer worked for them. This practice definitely continues. However, medical providers will not sanction this practice as the risk of contamination is real.
If you have unused medication, talked to your medical provider about potential donations and/or proper disposal. If you know of a program that is seeking unused prescription medications from individuals, please post.
What you can do with other type of durable medical equipment (DME), such as hospital beds, walkers, wheelchairs, canes etc.:
• If you participate in a support group, see if anyone can use what you have.
• Check with your medical provider, condition specific organization, council on aging, senior center and/or home health/hospice organization about other people that might benefit from what you have.
• Many Independent Living Centers have loan programs. Call 713-520-0232- to find a Center near you.
• Since storage can be a problem, some churches and community based organizations, such as Legion, Rotary, and Lions Club, offer limited service.
• There are a number of places that will accept individual wheelchairs, as well provide them. Check Wheelchair Foundation for their list of places to donate.
• DME (Durable Medical Equipment) List: If you have or know of unused DME and are responsible for the equipment, help to list it here. By listing DME and giving it away free, you will make a difference to someone’s quality of life.
• Lions Clubs will take used eyeglasses and hearing aids. All types of eyeglasses and sunglasses, prescription and non-prescription are acceptable. Check with your local Lions Club to see where donation boxes are in your community.
• Post your items to Freecycle The Freecycle Network™ is made up of 4,940 groups with 8,399,771 members around the world. It's a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns.