Every year we hear clean water reports that say large cities like NYC have levels of pharmaceuticals in their drinking water that can be a concern for the people that live in that area.
You will hear reports of water that has passed through the treatment plants to be recycled and put back into our drinking water system with levels of Heart Medication, Cancer Blockers, Opiates and Hormonal Treatments that can be measured. This should be a concern for everyone because when you consider the problems with drug side effects not to even mention allergic reactions that can be immediate the long term exposure to measurable amounts of Pharmaceuticals could lead to medical problems.
Now some people might say that medicines in the drinking water is the only way they can afford to get treatment.. that is another problem that needs to be addressed.. but along with the effects of consuming these products is the problem you may have with others getting hold of them and using them.
They say that most kids now look in their parents or relative’s medicine cabinet to get high.. This is a social problem that you need to take care with but keeping medicine around that you no longer need is really not a good idea.
So, how do you get rid of old medicine?
Well we already know that flushing them or pouring them down the sink is not a good idea.
The best way to dispose of unused medication especially if it is a controlled substance is to bring it to a pharmacy or doctor that prescribed the medication and have them destroy it in your presence then provide you a receipt for the drug count and day of disposal.
You don’t want to simply drop off the medication and walk away it is important that it be contaminated with a substance that makes it unfit for use. This way you are protected legally for its disposal.
This is very important for families with small children or families where a family member has a drug problem. You don’t want someone using the medication when it wasn’t prescribed to them. You also don’t want a family member overdosing on street drugs and then you getting blamed because a similar drug was prescribed in your home and you didn’t take steps to dispose of it.
Will the Trashman take them?
Well… maybe…but lets hope not…
Some local municipalities have a system setup to accept hazardous waste and pharmaceuticals are part of their program. Unfortunately if you dispose of medicine in your trash it will go to your landfill which could have runoff into your drinking water.. not to mention there is no chain of custody.
If you are going to dispose of medicine in this way then you want to make sure that you contaminate it in a way that no one can make use of it. A small amount of a petroleum product like motor oil or some similar non evaporating petroleum based liquid like enamel paint will do well to make it unusable.
Drugs are suppose to make us better but when they age past their expiration date they can become poisonous.
You should never keep pharmaceuticals in your home that could cause harm to others if you are no longer in need of them.
Disposing of medications properly helps you, your family and community in many ways and because its not the most difficult thing to do it is important that you don’t wait for a problem to happen and treat these chemicals as you would any other potentially harmful material in your home.
Its only a joke (something to not worry about) until something actually happens.. so take care.