Old Drugs, Where to Stick Them

When I quit taking my stomach meds I wasn’t sure what to do with them. So, I just dumped them in the trash. Not good. Group Health Cooperative pharmacies have come up with a program for safely disposing of old drugs. Keith Ervin of The Seattle Times reports:
Old drugs left in the medicine cabinet are too often used by mistake or by someone seeking a high. If thrown in the garbage or flushed down the toilet, they can give an unintended dose to fish and other wildlife.

That's beginning to change here, thanks to the nation's largest program for returning unused drugs.

Group Health Cooperative pharmacies, in cooperation with government agencies and environmental groups, are accepting unused prescription and over-the-counter drugs, then sending them away to be incinerated. By the end of last month, shortly after the program was expanded to 25 Group Health pharmacies in King, Pierce, Snohomish, Kitsap, Thurston and Spokane counties, patients had returned 2 tons of drugs.

It will become even easier to return medications next month when Bartell Drugs puts the first secure drop box in one of its stores and then rolls out the service in more stores. The opening dates for the service and the locations of those stores have not yet been announced.
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kpomer - January 23, 2008 9:41 AM

That's a fantastic project to hear about! A couple years ago, I tried to return my unused meds to a local pharmacy and they said, "Um, I guess we could throw them away for you ...". Ugh! I mentioned the question about the consequences of all these meds in the waste stream, but let it go since the pharmacy worker certainly has little or no power in the process.

Add humans to wildlife affected, too. With many meds flushed down the drain, they end up in downstream water supplies. Yet another source of hormone disruptors!

Gerry Pugliese - January 23, 2008 10:48 AM

Hey Kpomer-

Wow! Thats an unsettling little story.


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