Earth Day is just around the corner, but what does it have to do with old medications?
Did you know that over-the-counter and prescription medications can contaminate waterways – rivers, lakes, and groundwater – when flushed, put down the drain, or thrown in the trash?
“It’s easy to simply toss old medications in the trash or flush them down the toilet without realizing the potential environmental impact,” said Jane Griffin, Groundwater Foundation Executive Director. She points out research from the U.S. Geological Survey that detected traces of medications in streams and groundwater supplies, and that “most water treatment facilities don’t have the capacity to remove these compounds.”
Instead of flushing or trashing those old medications, take them to a Nebraska MEDS Initiative pharmacy. Find a participating pharmacy near you at www.leftovermeds.com.
“Fortunately, it’s also easy to return leftover and expired medications to MEDS Initiative Pharmacies across the state,” Griffin said. “It’s a simple step we can all take can take to protect our water resources.”
“Every day, including Earth Day, is take-back day in Nebraska,” said Marcia Mueting of the Nebraska Pharmacists Association. “Over 320 pharmacies across the state accept medications for proper disposal, giving consumers an easy and safe method of keeping medications out of the environment.”
Mueting points out that many consumers wait until the National Prescription Drug Take Back Days, which happen in late April and October every year, to get rid of old medications. “While it’s great that these medications aren’t being flushed or put in the trash, there’s no need to hold on to them until the DEA’s take-back days,” she said. “Pharmacies across Nebraska will take back medications every single day.”
The Nebraska MEDS Initiative is funded by the Nebraska Legislature. The Nebraska Medication Education on Disposal Strategies (MEDS) Coalition educates Nebraskans about drug disposal and provides safe ways to dispose of them to better safeguard the environment and protect public health. The Coalition includes the Nebraska Pharmacists Association, Groundwater Foundation, Lincoln/Lancaster County Health Department, Lincoln Police Department, Coalition Rx, Lincoln Public School Nurses, LiveWise Coalition, Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, Nebraska Medical Association, AARP of Nebraska, Nebraska Pharmacy Foundation, Nebraska Regional Poison Center, Safe Kids Lincoln-Lancaster County, KETV, Nebraska Attorney General’s Office, and Nebraska State Patrol.