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Flushing medications down the toilet

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InnerLight posted 9/17/2013 15:31 PM

This came up on a topic in NB and I thought I would bring it here rather than overly TJ the other thread.

Throwing an Xs Viagra down the toilet was suggested and many people agreed. It made me cringe because I know that the meds get in the water and affect aquatic life, and then also our own drinking water and our children.

In doing a little research the alternatives are not so easy. There are some programs that allow you to take back your unused meds to a pharmacy but they are not everywhere. That leaves the alternative of combining the crushed pills with something unsavory such as used cat litter and putting in a sealed plastic container and throwing in the trash where it will end up in the landfill.

What do you do with unused meds? Nurses, doctors, medical staff: What happens in hospitals? Are they incinerated? Does anyone know if they have a Take Back program in their local community?

[This message edited by InnerLight at 5:16 PM, September 17th (Tuesday)]

ajsmom posted 9/17/2013 15:34 PM

In my area, police departments take them.

From there, I have no idea what they do with them, but my guess is they're then incinerated.


Crescita posted 9/17/2013 15:40 PM

I usually just hold onto mine. I'm kind of a hoarder that way, but there are no small children to worry about getting into them.

notgoodenough1 posted 9/17/2013 17:49 PM

The Hospice nurse for my grandmother told me to put used wet coffee grounds in a ziploc bag and dump the pills from her old medications in and seal the bag. Then to put the bag in the trash. The pills disolve and no one wants to root thru wet coffe grounds.

gma56 posted 9/17/2013 17:55 PM

When my Mom died, I took her meds to her pharmacy and they disposed them and her extra syringes. This was in a small town.

Lucky2HaveMe posted 9/17/2013 18:23 PM

A few times/yr our police dept has a program to turn in old meds. We had 1 bottle and 2 epi pens - the guy chuckled at me because people were bringing in grocery bags full!

Sad in AZ posted 9/17/2013 19:32 PM

Thank you for bringing this up, IL. I wanted to, but I'm always the tread-jacking old grouch...

womaninflux posted 9/17/2013 19:35 PM is a website where you can type in your zip and what you are trying to get rid of and find a place that will properly/safely dispose of it. Rx, hazardous household waste, etc. It is really helpful.

Dreamboat posted 9/17/2013 20:55 PM

When my mother died, the hospice nurse came to our house and was required to flush the morphine they had prescribed down the toilet. One of us had to witness her doing this and sign a form that there was no meds that THEY prescribed that were unaccounted for. I was thinking about the meds working their way into the eco system when this happened, but it was policy.

My mother was a hoarder of meds. Going thru her stuff we found a prescription from the 1960's. My sisters and I took charge of the meds. Anything that was narcotic (including xanax) one of us took possession of immediately and were responsible for disposing. We have some pill-poppers in the younger generation so we did not want them to get a hold of them (in fact, we cleared them out of the house prior to Mom's death). The ones "assigned" to me I either still have (I guess I take after my mother ) or I took as needed for an injury. The non-narcotics, things like high blood pressure meds and such, we just threw away. If someone wants to root thru our garbage to get HBP meds then more power to them.

If I had to dispose of viagra then I guess I would put it in some nasty garbage, like raw chicken packages. But then I would be concerned that my dog would get into the garbage.... But I would put some thought into it.

purplejacket4 posted 9/17/2013 22:42 PM

Here the pharmacies have bags they sell that you put pills in and they are then disposed of as medical waste.

Phoenix1 posted 9/17/2013 23:53 PM

I work in the water industry. Do NOT flush drugs of any kind. Wastewater treatment cannot filter and cleanse it all and it does go back into the environment, with possibly catastrophic consequences to local receiving waters.

Disposing in landfills by mixing with kitty litter, coffee grounds, etc. is fine, but better yet is seek out a P2D2 (Prescription Pill and Drug Disposal) program in your area and dispose there. More and more communities are sponsoring such events as awareness increases about the negative consequences of flushing.

aesir posted 9/18/2013 01:40 AM

Do not throw out antibiotics of any kind ever!!! Always talk to a pharmacy to find a proper disposal program. Flushing, burying, whatever of antibiotics can help to create antibiotic resistant organisms.

I'm not so concerned about things like viagra, if it leads to fish spawning more frequently, I'm fine with that. Then again, I have no idea what some of these other things really do. I just want to emphasize the antibiotic one. We have already lost a lot of valuable medicines this way, and we just aren't making new ones fast enough.

simplydevastated posted 9/18/2013 08:26 AM

I'm going to check ^^^this out.

My town usually has a household hazardous waste day two times a year and I think I missed it. My husband has some old pain pills and I have my daughters old epi-pens to dispose of.

Thanks for starting this thread.

StillGoing posted 9/18/2013 19:09 PM

We keep the extra antibiotics for the dogs.

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