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Discarding Old Medicine

Discarding Old Medicine


By Denise Shannon

Do you have medication leftover from being sick or for stopping and starting with a new medication and do not know how to get rid of it?

Stop yourself before you just throw it in the trash or flush it down the toilet.  Did you know there are reasons that a person is not supposed to just throw them in the trash or down the toilet?

Let’s take a look at why a person is not supposed to do these things and get an opinion of the proper way to handle the unused medications that are leftover in our homes.  By learning this it will help our community become aware of this situation.

Medication can have bad effects if we do not get rid of it properly.  Certain risks are being taken when it is not discarded properly.  One risk is that it could end up in the hands of little ones and we do not want that to happen. Also, if it should be dropped on the floor a pet could get ahold of it and get sick as well.

Another risk that is out there is the fact that there could be people around you that would misuse the old medication that you have, and you may not even know it, such as teens and adults who are at risk of misusing old medication due to other issues they are trying to cope with or deal with in a bad way.

By getting rid of the old medication that one has, it will help to prevent oneself from getting sick for taking the wrong medication if someone has switched medications as well.

Another important risk factor is with polluting our streams and rivers when someone flushes the old medication down their drain or toilet.

One should not flush the medication because if they do, it could get into our drinking water sources.

The way that this can happen is, in the home, we have a septic tank, and when someone flushes the medication down the toilet, that medication can leach into the ground and seep into the groundwater.

And, when there are cities and towns connected to wastewater treatment plants, the medication can be put down the sink or flushed down the toilet and it can be passed through the treatment system and get into our rivers and lakes.

This could move downstream and get into our community drinking water supplies.

Currently, water treatment plants are not prepared to get rid of medications that come through regularly.

There are ways to properly get rid of old medication, and this includes: moving the medication out of its original container, putting the medication inside of a container such as a cottage cheese container and mix the medication with something such as kitty litter or coffee grounds, make sure to take all of the personal information off of the medicine container, make sure that the container you have put the medication in is sealed and then it can be placed into the trash to get rid of it that way.

Getting the opinion of our local Sheriff on this situation, this is what he had to say about how to handle medications properly in our community.

According to Shawn Webster, Clark County Sheriff, he gave the following information on how we can go about getting rid of unused or expired medication properly that we do not wish to keep.

Clark County Sheriff, Shawn Webster had this to say, “Dispose of unused or expired medications the safe way, by bringing them to an approved collection site.  The Clark County Sheriff’s Office has one in the lobby. Drugs that are thrown in the trash can be retrieved by others and sold, while flushing medication can potentially contaminate the water supply.  By safely disposing you will prevent poisoning, misuse, and overdose in our community.

The following medications are approved for the medication dropbox.

  1. Prescription medications, ointments, and patches.
  2. OTC medications, ointments, lotions, and liquids.
  3. Pet medications.
  4. Vitamins.
  5. Inhalers.

The following items are restricted for the medication dropbox.

  1. Needles and thermometers. Needles can be dropped off at the ambulance base in Kahoka.
  2. Illegal Drugs.  Medications dropped in the medication box located in the Clark County Sheriff’s Office lobby will be destroyed in an incinerator.” Sheriff, Shawn Webster.

It is very important to pay attention to how you get rid of old medication because it could affect us all, even if we do not think about it.

The Media would like to thank the Clark County Sheriff, Shawn Webster for his help with providing information to the community about how to safely deal with this situation.