[December, 2006] Most of us have been
told in the past, that the safest way to dispose of old medications,
substances, was to flush it down the toilet. However, most sanitation
plants have no way to remove drugs from water before dumping it
into streams or the ocean. So, marine life including mammals and
fish get exposed to all kinds of drugs including narcotics, hormones,
antibiotics. Not only does this disrupt marine life, it also puts
antibiotics in the environment, which can create new strains of
antibiotic resistant bacteria!
There has been a campaign over the last
few years to get the word out, but many people still haven't gotten
the message (including me until just before I wrote this article).
Local governments, environmental groups and sanitation districts
are trying to formulate a safe, standard way to dispose of unused
drugs. Right now, there is no easy answer, so I recommend you do
your research to find the best disposal method available in your
Ask your pharmacy if they take back unused
medications. It has also been suggested to wrap them up and throw
them into the trash, but you have to think about where they will
end up then. You still have to reduce potential exposure to people
and animals around
your trash container, and protect controlled substances from being
found by those who would abuse them. Plus, what about
drugs in our landfills and groud water? There are complex laws
regarding disposal of controlled substances as
put a little thought into how you will dispose of your old drugs.
One step is to be careful not to purchase more drugs than you will
need, so you won't have any unused drugs to worry about.
Here is some further reading for you.
Any links below are outside of Orcaoutreach, and will open
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report any broken links to the
Bottom line: Don't drug our fish, seals, and dolphins!.