Martha Jefferson HealthWise--April 29th

Approximately $250 billion are spent in the United States each year for prescription drugs. From Lipitor to Nexium to Advair, the majority of us have at least one prescription medication in our home. Chances are, you also have some expired or unneeded prescriptions in your medicine cabinet. But if your spring cleaning includes flushing those old pills, think again. Joining us today for Martha Jefferson Healthwise is pharmacy operations coordinator Tom Rapp to talk about the importance of proper medication disposal to keep your family and community safe.

Why shouldn’t we send expired or unused prescription medications down the drain?

There are significant and mounting data available which identify many pharmaceuticals showing up in our municipal water systems. There is also growing evidence that some of our fish populations, specifically salmon and trout among others are becoming feminized and therefore unable to reproduce. This is as a direct result of man-made compounds including pharmaceuticals in our lakes and streams. It is only fair to point out that most of the drugs found in our water systems get there through the proper use of medicines. When we take medicine much of it is excreted from our bodies unchanged when we go to the restroom. But we can still do our part by properly disposing our unwanted medicines.

How should we properly dispose of them?

The best option is to take your old or unwanted medicines to a community drug take-back program. For those who do not have community drug take-back programs the FDA developed a process one may follow to properly dispose of unwanted medicines. However, this process only focuses on making the medicines unrecoverable in our municipal landfills. It does not deal with their environmental impact. The FDA is quick to point out the best option of taking advantage of community drug take-back programs because these programs also address the environment impact of drug disposal.

What resources are available for people looking for more information on how to throw out old medications?

The FDA website does a great job describing the process I just mentioned. If you are interested in a community drug take-back program I have good news: This Saturday, May 2nd from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon Martha Jefferson his having such an event at their Outpatient Care Center on Pantops. With the exception of commercial enterprises, anyone may bring in all their unwanted prescription, over-the-counter, and even pet medications and know they will be properly destroyed. We will also receive household medical sharps such as syringes and needles at the event. This is a drive-thru event, so you don’t even have to get out of your car. It is free of charge and completely confidential.

This event is a great service for three reasons. It gets unwanted medicines:
-out of our medicine cabinets thereby preventing accidental poisonings of our children, grandchildren, and even pets
-gets certain medicines off the streets
-and assures the proper, environmentally sensitive disposal process

Community Unwanted Drug and Sharps Take Back Event
Martha Jefferson Outpatient Care Center at Pantops
Saturday, May 2nd from 9:00am – 12:00pm
Open to ALL (except commercial enterprises)
For more information call 434-982-7009 or toll-free 1-888-652-6663

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