By: Sue Schneider
April 20, 2014
Shared for educational purposes only. Click here for original post.
Drug Take-Back Day benefits all
Every home has a medicine cabinet. Many of the pharmaceuticals that we store in our homes are used for their intended purpose, but a growing number of us may find ourselves with outdated medicines — some prescriptions by our doctors, some over-the-counter medications that may have outlived their sell-by date.
For years, the common recommendation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration was to dispose of these substances in a variety of controlled ways, including, as a last resort, flushing them down the toilet. The aim with that approach was to safeguard against the threat of these medicines falling into the wrong hands.
A consequence of this strategy has resulted in a growing concentration of pollution in our rivers, lakes and streams. When we flush medicine down the drain, it enters our water systems and presents multiple challenges to our efforts to keep our drinking water clean, safe and healthy.
Consider this fact: Currently, 70 percent of us take at least one prescription medication, with one in five Americans taking as many as five medications on a consistent basis. Nearly 40 percent of those prescriptions end up going unused. That amounts to 200 million pounds of stockpiled, unused and expired pills, syrups and ointments.
With no consistent and convenient disposal method, these medicines get flushed down the drain.
Currently, the best method we have to prevent the introduction of dangerous substances into our water system, or from falling into the wrong hands, is education. All agencies, from Spartanburg Water to our health care facilities to law enforcement, must join forces to provide alternatives to home disposal.
The best way to combat this problem: Participate in National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. These events, which are held twice a year in the spring and fall, allow consumers to bring their unused, unwanted and expired pharmaceutical drugs to a central location to be disposed in a safe, legal and environmentally conscious way. These events also help to educate consumers on the steps they can take to prevent the abuse and improper disposal of their prescription drugs.
Since 2010, the national program has collected more than 3.5 million pounds of pharmaceuticals.
This is a great opportunity for you to do your part in helping to prevent pharmaceuticals from getting into the wrong hands and into our water supply.
Never flush medicine down a toilet or sink. Take pride in properly disposing of these substances and do your part to protect both yourself and our water resources. As residents of Spartanburg County, it’s our duty to be good stewards of our environment.
In the end, perhaps we can all begin to think about those fundamental questions we often overlook and how we can all be positive influences on our water resources.