The EPA is worried about drugs getting into the water supply. DEA is concerned about drugs getting into your kids. And the FDA – the agency responsible for legal drugs – has finally decided to weigh what to do with all the extra medications lying around most homes.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has launched a web page for consumers with information on how to dispose of certain drugs, including several high-potency opioids and other selected controlled substances.
Because of all those drugs in all those medicine cabinets, teenagers no longer have to get their fix from the local drug pusher. It becomes easy to pick their poison with out leaving home to do it. And, in many cases, poison it is.
Many of these medicines have the potential to be harmful, even deadly, in a single dose if taken by someone other than the intended person.
Your emergency room staff or the local police drug squad can describe in gory detail the carnage that this abuse of someone else’s meds can cause.
The FDA recommends that these medicines be disposed of by flushing down the sink or toilet. The goal is to keep them away from children and others who could be harmed by taking them accidentally.
The FDA list three disposal methods for specific drugs.
– Some should be flushed down the sink or toilet.
– Others should be thrown away in the household trash after mixing them with some unpalatable substance, such as coffee grounds, and sealing them in a bag or other container.
–The best sounding option would be to bring the unused meds back to the drug store. Many chain pharmacies have a “take back” program.
The FDA is working with other groups to improve the use of several drug disposal methods, including drug take back programs.
“But, for some potent medicines that can cause harm or death if inadvertently taken by family members, the FDA currently recommends flushing them down the sink or toilet to immediately and permanently remove them from the home,” said Dr. Douglas Throckmorton, deputy center director of FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.
An ER nurse at a Seattle hospital told me today that one a 14-year-old overdose victims she treated told her there is a Facebook site that that guides drug abusers on which prescription meds are worth stealing.
I spoke to three EPA clean water experts – one in Seattle and two at the agency’s headquarters – and none would talk on the record because they want to be team players. But all said dumping medication down the drain can present serious problems to drinking water quality. The risk to salmon and waterfowl is also being studied.
“We know that water treatment plants can’t remove these meds from the drinking water and that it most likely may harm humans and fish down the road,” said one of the EPA water experts.
“What doesn’t need to be studied is the harm this stuff is doing to our children today so FDA is on a logical track.”
Here is a link to the FDA medication disposal website