Letters to the Editor: May 11 – 17, 2017
It Needs to be Easier to Dispose Prescription Meds
It was great that folks could turn in their unwanted prescription pills at City Hall on National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day last week. But here is the reality. If we want to be serious about safe disposal of drugs there has to be more than one day a year to do that. There should be easier ways for us to get rid of meds that can be a real danger to others and pollute our water.
This is a complicated topic. There are government guidelines that describe which drugs can be disposed of in the trash and how to do that. Some guidelines list drugs that can be flushed down the toilet. Others discourage putting any prescription drugs in our water supply. I, for one, am concerned that streams throughout the nation are contaminated with significant amounts of drugs. We are not immune here in Virginia. Drinking water treated by the Washington Aqueduct contained six common pharmaceuticals, including antibiotics.
I want to thank Delegate Kathleen Murphy for sponsoring legislation in the last session of the Virginia General Assembly to help protect us from these very real threats. This legislation requires the Virginia Board of Pharmacy to create guidelines which will increase patient awareness and encourage pharmacies to participate in disposal programs.
After an accident resulting in five surgeries, my medicine cabinet was full of prescription and over-the-counter drugs. I am an expert in how hard it was to dispose of medicine. From personal experience and from spending fifteen years in public health, I know how important this legislation is.
I recently learned that the 24-hour Walgreens at the intersection of Columbia Pike and Little River Turnpike has a medical recycle bin where you can dispose of pills. So until more pharmacies start helping us, take a hike over to that Walgreens. Delegate Murphy is leading us in the right direction, but it’s up to us to stop putting meds down the toilet or in the trash.
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