National Prescription Drug Take Back

A while back I wrote about the environmental issues associated with disposing of old medication.

It can be difficult getting rid of the stuff in an earth friendly way if your local pharmacy won’t take them, so the tendency can be to let these old medications accumulate in our homes, posing a different sort of threat; particularly if you have young ‘uns. As some medications age, they can break down into highly toxic substances.

Additionally, certain types of medication can be the target of addicts.

If you’re in the USA and find yourself in the position of having a cabinet full of old pills and potions, you’re in luck.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has announced a nationwide prescription drug “Take-Back” initiative.

“DEA will be collecting potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs for destruction at sites nationwide on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2010, from 10 A.M.-2 P.M. local time. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.”

It’s quite apparent from the press release the primary goal is to prevent rapidly increasing pill abuse and theft – a growing problem in many nations, but it’s great the DEA is also accepting non-narcotic medications. So whether it’s old antibiotics or even just over-the-counter painkillers, they’ll take those too.

There’s also a green spin on this – seeing the drugs are properly destroyed and not just winding up in our waterways – unless the DEA has a really, really big toilet they are going to flush all these down.

That does raise the point – what will they do with all those pills, how will they be destroyed? I’m not sure, the DEA just says safely.

Anyhow, if you’re looking to clear out your cupboards, you can find the collection site closest to you here.


Old medication and the environment