A few reasons to dispose medications properly

July 10, 2013

By Jen Hansen. District Health Department #10

Have you ever thought about what happens to your unused medications once they are thrown into the trash or flushed down the toilet? There are some important reasons to pay attention to our medication disposal practices.

Many of us can open our medicine cabinets and find a variety of expired, unused and unwanted drugs. In the past it has been recommended to either flush these drugs down the toilet or toss them into the curbside trash –both of which present some problems.

First, let’s talk about other people finding and using those drugs. The abuse of Rx medications is the fastest growing drug problem in the country. Disposing of drugs by putting them in the trash provides an opportunity for those drugs to be abused. Even following practices like mixing drugs with kitty litter or coffee grounds doesn’t ensure that the drugs won’t be stolen and either used or sold.

Next, let’s consider the environmental impact of simply throwing away or flushing these drugs. The Great Lakes Clean Water Organization notes that “Wherever we are in the Great Lakes region we should be concerned about the emerging issue of trace amounts of pharmaceutical compounds showing up in our surface, ground water and municipal water systems.” This is a real problem for our water supply as well as wildlife ecosystems.

The safest place to dispose of unwanted drugs is through a drug take back program. Expired or otherwise unwanted medications (non-controlled only) can be taken to Rite Aid pharmacy in Ludington during normal business hours. Both controlled and non-controlled medications can be taken to the City of Ludington Police Department or Mason County Sheriff’s Office during regular business hours.

Help keep our community safer and our waters cleaner by properly disposing of medications.

Jen Hansen

District Health Department #10

231-316-8554

[email protected]

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