Wow, I had never really thought about what happens when I toss out old medication. But it does make sense that it could get into the wrong hands or could be ingested by animals. Thankfully, someone smarter than me has realized the issue and started a drug-take back program.
Group Health in Washington state has several pharmacies that have implemented the program with great success. They have been working closely with government and environmental agencies to ensure the drugs are properly disposed of. The program is limited, but legislation is in the works to change this. It would also include the ability to take back prescription narcodics, like codeine. Currently federal law does not allow consumers to give narcodics to anyone other than a law enforcement official. Until then, it is suggested to mix these drugs with something unappetizing to animals such as coffee grounds or kitty litter.
Here is a link to the full story. I found it very facinating and eye-opening. I will certainly take greater care when disposing of OTC and prescription drugs in the future.