Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Dispose of Old Medicines Safely

Dispose of old medicines safely

Posted at 4:52 pm by Sarah Jackson

Pharmaceutical chemicals, when unintentionally released into the air and water, are not good for environment.

Wildlife biologists have found birth control pill hormones, the pain relievers acetaminophen and hydrocodone and the diabetes-control drug metformin in Washington state waters.

That’s why it’s fantastic news that pharmacies with the Group Health Cooperative, according to a front-page Seattle Times story today, will be accepting unused prescription and over-the-counter drugs at drop boxes for environmentally safe drug disposal, including two clinic locations in Snohomish County, one in Everett and another in Lynnwood.

See the complete list of sites with address here.

“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,” the story said. “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.”

Despite the tight security of the take-back bins and the program, narcotics aren’t allowed in the bins, which means you’ll still have to dispose of narcotics — “controlled substances” such as codeine and oxycodone — by stirring them with some kitty litter and putting them in the garbage. (Don't ever flush drugs down the toilet.)

Enjoy the program, funded by government and private sources through the end of 2008 only, while it lasts.

It could go away after that.

If the forward-thinking Northwest Product Stewardship Council and certain legislators get their way, however, it might be up to the drug companies and retailers to pay for safe drug disposal.


We’ll see.

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