Sunday, March 30, 2008

General Health Topic - New Drug Disposal Guidelines

Hello Everyone,

In a previous post, I wrote about how drug residue is being found in the drinking water in many communities accross the US. In response to this potential problem the bigwigs in Washington came out with new guidelines for disposal of prescription drugs.

Remember, many of the drugs that are found in water are from the drug being ingested by a patient and then being excreted in either urine or feces. The wastewater treatments that are currently available are not designed to remove drugs, drug residues or drug metabolites.

The goal of these new guidelines is to not add more drugs to the water system by following the old guidelines of flushing expired or unused meds down the toilet. In addition, the new guidelines suggest taking the unwanted drugs and rendering them unfit for human use and therefore preventing drug diversion.

Here are the new guidelines:

(Washington, DC)—In the face of rising trends in prescription drug abuse, the Federal government today issued new guidelines for the proper disposal of unused, unneeded, or expired prescription drugs. The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) jointly released the new guidelines, which are designed to reduce the diversion of prescription drugs, while also protecting the environment.

The new Federal prescription drug disposal guidelines urge Americans to:

Take unused, unneeded, or expired prescription drugs out of their original containers.
Mix the prescription drugs with an undesirable substance, like used coffee grounds or kitty litter, and put them in impermeable, non-descript containers, such as empty cans or sealable bags, further ensuring that the drugs are not diverted or accidentally ingested by children or pets.
Throw these containers in the trash.

Flush prescription drugs down the toilet only if the accompanying patient information specifically instructs it is safe to do so.

Return unused, unneeded, or expired prescription drugs to pharmaceutical take-back locations that allow the public to bring unused drugs to a central location for safe disposal.

Call your local pharmacy and see if they will accept your unused prescriptions. I think that will be better way than adding the meds to a landfill.

As soon I find more information, I will pass it along.


Dr. Paul

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