Medicine Collection Event Promotes Environmental Stewardship

100813 Operation Medicine CabinetOn Saturday, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection partnered with the Southern Waste Information Exchange, Leon County Sheriff’s Office and Florida State University’s Center for Biomedical and Toxicological Research staff to sponsor a free medicine collection event at Costco in Tallahassee. The event drew 136 participants who dropped off 215 pounds of medicines.

The event helped residents understand the safe and proper disposal methods for unused or expired prescriptions and medications, and how flushing medications down the toilet or a drain can potentially contaminate Florida’s water.  Since 2010, more than 1,000 pounds of expired, unwanted or unused medicine has been collected from nearly 800 participants.

Proper disposal of unwanted medications is important to public safety since wastewater treatment systems are not designed to remove many types of medications.  You should never flush unwanted medications down the toilet or down a drain. Instead, place them in the household trash after taking precautions to prevent accidental ingestion by humans or animals.

If you missed Saturday’s collection or do not live in the Tallahassee area, there is another opportunity on October 26 during the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Take-Back day. Check out the Administration’s website for locations near you—there are more than 100 collection sites throughout Florida.  Many counties don’t have pharmaceutical disposal programs, so this is an excellent opportunity to dispose of unwanted medications in a safe way.

For more information on proper disposal of unwanted medications, please visit DEP’s Web site at www.dep.state.fl.us/waste/categories/medications.

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