Protect Your Community and Water Supply by Safely Discarding Unwanted Medications

Apr 27, 2016

Washington, D.C. - This Saturday, April 30, the public is encouraged to safely dispose of prescription and over-the-counter medications at over 50 locations throughout metropolitan Washington, from 10:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is a nationwide event to promote the safe disposal of expired and unwanted medications. To find the nearest medication disposal site, visit bit.ly/Medtakebackday

The initiative is being promoted in the region by COG and regional partners, including law enforcement agencies, water utilities, and health officials. About one-third of medicines sold to households in metropolitan Washington go unused every year, amounting to approximately 33 million containers per year. Proper medication disposal keeps communities safe by preventing drug abuse, accidental ingestion, and the contamination of water supplies. The service is free and anonymous.

“With over 50 take-back locations in the region, residents can conveniently get rid of medications while preventing water pollution and unintentional drug use,” said Fairfax Water’s Susie Miller, a member of the COG Community Engagement Campaign (CEC) for the region’s drinking water and wastewater utilities.

“With over 50 take-back locations in the region, residents can conveniently get rid of medications while preventing water pollution and unintentional drug use,” said Fairfax Water’s Susie Miller, a member of the COG Community Engagement Campaign (CEC) for the region’s drinking water and wastewater utilities.

The CEC recently launched the Protect Your Pipes campaign to educate the region about the harm that the improper disposal of foreign items like fats, oils, grease, wipes, and medications can cause homeowners, municipal sewer systems, and the environment.

“The removal and proper disposal of expired or unused medications from the home promotes safety and keeps dangerous compounds from our water supply and environment,” said Takoma Park Police Chief Alan Goldberg, who serves as COG’s Police Chiefs Committee Chairman. “Many area departments also provide year round drop off points in their facilities.”

For those who cannot make it to a take-back location on Saturday, a list of permanent, secure disposal locations in the region is posted at bit.ly/managemedication

With the exception of controlled substances, many unwanted medicines can be discarded with household trash by following the instructions below. If you are unsure if your medication is a controlled substance, consult a licensed pharmacist or check local laws to determine if trash disposal is an option.

  1. Take prescription drugs out of their original containers.
  2. Mix drugs with an undesirable substance, such as cat litter or used coffee grounds.
  3. Put mixture into a disposable container that can be sealed, like a plastic bag.
  4. Conceal or remove any personal information on empty containers, including Rx number, by covering it with permanent marker or by scratching it off.
Contact: Megan Goodman
Phone: (202) 962-3209
 
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