Drug Take Back Programs On the Rise

Pills in Individual Containers Photo

Image source: Getty Images

Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy Company just announced that it has joined the list of facilities that can and will take your unused and outdated medicines and properly dispose of them "by an FDA-approved company." Neither dumping them down the drain or in the trash is a good ideas, as either way the drugs will eventually get back to you in your water supply.

Why is drug take back so difficult? Well, it has to do with Federal regulations.According to Federal regulations, no one can receive any narcotic or controlled substance from anyone else, unless they are a law officer. In addition, the US Office of National Drug Control Policy still advises people to flush medicine down the sink, throw them in the garbage or crush them up into kitty litter or coffee grounds. This leads to everyone just pointing fingers, taking a step back and letting someone else deal with it.

We have reported in the past that medicines flushed down household toilets each year cause defects in animals and eventually end up back in our tap water and in our own bodies. In addition, even hospitals are reportedly dumping 250 million pounds of drugs down the toilet each year.

What are your Medicine Recycling Options?

A school teacher in San Mateo County, CA designed a program with her local law officials to put white, metal drop off bins outside of all police stations where people can safely and easily dispose of all medications. The bins are even recycled - they are made from old postal mail boxes. According to the International Herald Tribune, increasingly communities across the US are having hosted one-day drug take back donation days, and netted several tons of pills in just the one day event, so check with your local community to see if they offer a similar day.

Canada has a "Return Expired Medications" program that is pretty easy to follow, but all medications are incinerated.There is no official registry or organized national program for US drug take back. Check with your local pharmacy or see if your community has a drug take back day or includes medicine in their hazardous waste disposal day. While there is a fee for pharmacies to dispose of the medications, the take back programs increase foot traffic in the stores, which they assume hopefully means another sale. Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacies are located along the west coast and in the Pacific Northwest. :Pharmaca
More on Hazardous Drug Disposal
Teacher, Students Work to Make Prescription Drug Disposal Sustainable
Drugs Are in Our Water! Should I Switch to Bottled?
Milwaukee Brews Drug Free Tap Water, With Ozone

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