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 somethingĀ 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.

2 thoughts on “A Safe Way to Discard Old Medicines

  1. My sister is in nursing school and this was actually a big discussion in her class. There is really no good way to dispose of extra meds at this time. The take-back programs aren’t very widespread. Flushing them down the toilet will just get the chemicals mixed up in our water source. The treatment plants can’t get all the chemicals out before returning the cleaned water to our rivers and streams.

  2. Not to long ago the local news in South Florida adviced viewers to flush left-over and old medication down the toilet or drain. Coming from Sweden (Scandinavia), I bounced as I overheard it. In norhtern Europe it is a well known fact the damages medication can do to our marine life and precious water sources, and the pharmacies will tell you to return the medicine to them, and they will then discard it the proper way. 2004 the returnrate was 46%.

    It is amazing how advices like that can be given in this day and age, and that drug take-back programs aren’t more widely spread. The information about how fishes and animals loose ability to reproduce, how they grow tumors and more has been out there for decades. What can we do to make the cities more responsible and support Drug take-back programs?

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