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Drugging the water you drink?

January 8, 2007

I’ve got a dilemma and I bet you do too: Meds, both prescription and non, that you’ve used just a partial supply and the rest have expired or you no longer need the scrip and are now trying to figure out how to get rid of it in an environmentally friendly way. Same goes for totally unopened meds such as samples.

If you flush it down the toilet or run it down the sink drain, guess where it goes? Here in the DC Metro area, right into the Chesapeake Bay! Yuck! And right into the food chain where it can have harmful health effects on both the eco-system and back to you and me! Yuck again!

What to do?

I called the Solid Waste division for Montgomery County, Maryland. If you put medicine in its original container in the trash, it will get incinerated along with the rest of the trash — it will not “live” in a landfill and will not end up in the water supply. That’s better than going down the drain, but I can’t help but wonder if there’s any harm to air chemistry, depending on the particular drug and the quantity.

And it still doesn’t help the dilemma of unopened and therefore unused meds you’re not going to use, you know, like the samples the doc gives you. Seems to me I’ve heard that sometimes local free clinics will accept such items, and some pharmacies have “take-back” days. Anybody out there know of any other ways to dispose of old meds safely, or pass them along safely?

A few possibilities are suggested in some articles from a Google search:

Flushed Drugs Pollute Water, Wisconsin State Journal, 12/11/06

Discarding old prescription medications, HealthForums.com

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One comment

  1. Real Age Tip of the Day 4/12/07

    “Returning leftover or old medicines to a doctor or pharmacy is your best bet for safely disposing of them. For years, some doctors advised flushing medicines, but we now know that’s not good for the environment.”

    Click on the link to read the rest



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