Streamline - Summer 2013 - (Page 21)

BY FRANK NADEAU, WASTEWATER TECHNICIAN I Up to 17 percent of prescribed medications go unused, and if improperly disposed, may contribute to drug diversion and environmental problems. Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet! 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 expired or unwanted prescription drugs have few disposal options, increasing the risk of drug abuse and poisonings. The Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010 seeks to reduce those risks by permitting individuals to deliver their unused medications to responsible state and private drug take-back programs. CongRESS PASSED ThE Up to 17 percent of prescribed medications go 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 also would 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 drugs except for marijuana, and the majority of teens who abuse these drugs get them for free, usually from friends and relatives and often without their knowledge. Why Are Unused Prescriptions and Over-the-Counter Medications a Concern? The problem is two-fold: 1. 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 Outdated or unusable drugs that are disposed of by flushing or pouring down the sink enter the environment because wastewater treatment facilities are not designed to remove them. 2. Storing unused or outdated prescriptions creates an opportunity for illicit use.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. What Should I Do With My Unused Medications? Do not flush! Do not pour! Prescription and 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: • irst, check with your police department to see F if they have a drug collection program. • econd, check to see if your community houseS hold hazardous waste program collects medications (they must have law enforcement officials present) or if your community is having a Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet event. • astly, if no collection options exist, follow L these steps: 1. Remove all personal identification from the prescription bottles; 2. Crush all tablets, pills, etc., mix all unused drugs with used coffee grounds, kitty litter, or other undesirable substance; 3. Place this mixture in a sealed container before disposing in the trash. Why Are We Talking About This? The EPA is presently discussing the analysis for Pharmaceutical and Personal Care Products (PPCP.) If we are required to remove these from our water intakes and our wastewater discharges, we are going to have a budget crisis even larger than that we have ever experienced. www.vrwa.org 21 http://www.vrwa.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Streamline - Summer 2013

From the President
From the Executive Director
Generators – Learning from the Past
Does the End Justify the Means?
Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet!
How is Serving on a Board of an Organization like Owning a Car?
Monitoring Master Meters
2013 Conference Highlights
OilClean from EcoSolutions Naturally Separates Oil from Water
Choosing a Rate Analyst
Ergs, Joules and Other Stuff
Snug and Smug with Solar Power
Fresh Faces: Joey Fagan
Wastewater Math
Throwing My Loop
eLearning Benefits
Membership Application
Do You Know What Your VRWA Benefits Are?
VRWA Mailbag
Welcome New Members
Training Calendar
Board of Directors
VRWA Committees
Index to Advertisers/Ad.com

Streamline - Summer 2013

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