Streamline - Summer 2011 - (Page 19)
Proper Disposal of
Agency has started talking about having wastewater treatment plants analyze 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.
THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
BY FRANK NADEAU WASTEWATER TECHNICIAN I
Up to 17 percent of prescribed medication goes unused, and if improperly disposed, may contribute to drug diversion and environmental problems.
So what can we do to save our systems from 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 come 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 loud and clear. Congress 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 allows consumers to give controlled substances to specially designated individuals for disposal, such as law enforcement officials. It also allows longterm 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 their knowledge. 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 drain 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 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: 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 (there must be a law enforcement official present) or if your community is holding a “Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet” event. 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. This information is reprinted from Proper Medication Disposal, Utah Department of Health with permission.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Streamline - Summer 2011
From the President
From the Executive Director
The Water Tastes Good in Western Virginia
Virginia WARN, Help in an Emergency
Proper Disposal of Pharmacy Products
VELAP: Where Are We Now?
Why Did the Paramecium Cross the Road?
Anger in the Work Place: What It Really Costs You
Litigation and Water Wars
Hydrant Flow Testing–Data You Need
What A Ride!
Conference 2011 Highlights
Throwing My Loop
Do You Know What Your VRWA Benefits Are?
New VRWA Benefit
Welcoming New Members
Board Of Directors
Index To Advertisers/ Ad.Com
Streamline - Summer 2011