Streamline - Spring 2014 - (Page 21)
Proper Disposal of Pharmacy Products
BY FRANK NADEAU,
and over the
are present in
THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION Agency (EPA) has started talking about WWTP (Wastewater
Treatment Plants) analyzing for pharmaceutical products. This is going to be time and money intensive. Analyses are going to be looking for dilutions down to 10-12(0.000000000001) or one part per
1,000,000,000,000. The laboratory equipment for conducting these analyses is going to be very high
priced.So what can we do to save our systems for some of these costs? Education of our customers is
one way we can reduce the amount of pharmaceuticals entering the waste stream. If they don't dump
their unwanted or unused medications down the commode, they won't be coming into our plants. Many
communities are establishing collection days and collection points for unwanted or unused prescription
drugs. We, as Wastewater operators, Supervisors, Administrators, and Council Members, can begin this
process by making our customers aware of what their rates are going to be if we have to start analyzing
for these materials. I think the message will be very loud.
"Congress has passed the Secure and
Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010 to give
consumers a safe and responsible way to dispose
of unused prescription drugs. Consumers currently seeking to reduce the amount of unwanted
or expired prescription drugs in their homes
have few disposal options, increasing the risk of
drug abuse and poisonings. The 2010 Act seeks
to reduce these risks by permitting individuals to
deliver their unused medications to responsible
state and private drug take-back programs.
Up to 17 percent of prescribed medication
goes unused, and if improperly disposed, may
contribute to drug diversion and environmental problems. The bill would allow consumers to give controlled substances to specially
designated individuals for disposal, such as
law enforcement officials. It would also allow
long-term care facilities to dispose of certain
prescription drugs on behalf of their residents.
Teenagers now abuse prescription drugs more
than any other illegal drug except for marijuana,
and the majority of teens get them for free, usually from friends and relatives, usually without
Studies have shown that pharmaceuticals
and over the counter drugs are present in our
nation's water bodies and certain drugs may
cause ecological harm. Outdated or unusable
drugs that are disposed of by flushing or pouring down a sink, enter the environment because
wastewater treatment facilities are not designed
to remove them.
Storing unused or outdated prescriptions creates an opportunity for illicit use. One in five
teens report intentionally misusing someone else's
prescription drugs to get high. Nearly half say they
get the medications from friends or relatives for
free, often by raiding the medicine cabinet or by
attending "pharming parties" where teens barter
legal drugs and get high.
Do Not Flush, Do Not Pour
Prescription, or over the counter medications
should not be flushed down the toilet or poured
down a sink. Follow these guidelines to dispose
of these products properly:
First, check with your local law enforcement
to see if they have a drug collection program.
Second, check to see if your community household hazardous waste program collects medications (They must have Law enforcement officials
present) or if your community is holding a "Clean
Out Your Medicine Cabinet" event; and lastly if
no collection options exist, follow these steps:
1. Remove all personal identification (especially
prescription number) from prescription bottles;
2. Mix all unused drugs with coffee grounds,
kitty litter, or other undesirable substance;
3. Place this mixture in a sealed container before
disposing in the trash."
Reprinted from Proper Medication Disposal,
Utah Department of Health with permission.
While I, personally, don't like this last suggestion, I couldn't find any other (more protective)
method of getting rid of these materials.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Streamline - Spring 2014
From the President
From the Executive Director
The Importance of an Immediate Response
What’s New in UV?
Proper Disposal of Pharmacy Products
Source Water Protection Notes
Ergs, Joules and Other Stuff
Establishing a Water Distribution System Flushing Program
Curtis Water Wins Big in D.C.
Throwing My Loop: Friends to Keep You Warm
Do You Know What Your VRWA Benefits Are?
Welcome New Members
Board of Directors
Index to Advertisers/Ad.com
Streamline - Spring 2014