Tuesday, May 1, 2012

About those medicines...

Today a woman asked me how she could get rid of her cancer medications.  This is such a tough issue.  The US federal government tells people to mix it with something noxious and throw it into the trash.  This is better than dumping it down the drain or flushing it down the toilet where eventually it could end up in our drinking water.  Septic systems and wastewater treatment facilities don't remove everything, ya know.  But, geez, shouldn't they be telling people to look for a medicines collection first?

There are many medicines collections throughout the US and other countries.  Unwanted medicines are everywhere in people's medicine chests and on their counter tops.  These can be a real temptation for junior and his buddies.  Or they can be a disaster for an elderly person who can't read the labels anymore.  Drugs are also a leading cause of poisoning for pets.  Do they demolish the pill bottle and eat the contents?  Hmmm....

The US Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Agency has provided one-day collections in the last few years every few months across the country.  Check to see if there is an upcoming collection at DEA Drug Takeback Schedules.  This web site will tell you what towns have signed up for the 3-hour collection.

However, they will probably stop once the feds figure out a collection system that is more convenient and provided on a regular basis.  But until they do that, keep all your drugs out of reach and hidden.  For unwanted drugs, look for a medicine collection in your area--call your town, the state, or solid waste management district, talk to your druggist.  If there is no collection, put your drugs in the trash.

The reason you might want to mix your solid drugs with something liquid and nasty or your liquid drugs with something like used kitty litter before tossing into the trash is potentially a drug addict could rifle through your trash looking for drugs to take.  I don't know how valid that concern is, but there it is.

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