What should you do with leftover or unwanted pharmaceuticals?
Until recently, consumers have been told to flush them down the toilet, or pour them down the drain.
But now scientists are beginning to find low levels of drugs in surface waters throughout the U.S. Some drugs pass largely unaltered through wastewater treatment plants. Drugs from heath care facilities and farms can also find their way into the water.
A nationwide study conducted in 1999 and 2000 by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) found low levels of drugs such as antibiotics, hormones, contraceptives and steroids in 80% of the rivers and streams tested.
Fish are being adversely affected, and drug-resistant bacteria could develop.
So… what do you do with those unwanted drugs? Where available, the best option is to take your medications to a local collection site.
The Third National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is Saturday, October 29, 2011 from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm. The Warren and Washington County sheriffs offices are participating. Find the location nearest you here.
Help spread the word…. and print out and place the poster above in your office.
By the way, most household hazardous waste collections will not accept pharmaceuticals.
If you can’t make the collection day on Oct. 29, then the LGA recommends you follow these steps to dispose of drugs in the trash:
1. First add water and then salt, ashes, dirt, cat litter, coffee grounds, or another undesirable substance to the medication. This will help to avoid accidental or intentional misuse of the drugs. Avoid crushing pills as some medications can be harmful in powder form.
3. Hide all medications in an outer container, such as a seal-able bag, box or plastic tub to prevent discovery and removal from the trash. Seal the container with strong tape.
4. Dispose of drugs as close to your trash collection day as possible to avoid misuse and/or misdirection.