Saturday, April 27, 2013 is National Drug Take-Back Day, an event created by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to encourage safe disposal of medications and educate the public on the risks of incorrectly discarding drugs.
Unwanted and expired prescription and over-the-counter medications can be dropped off between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. at Take-Back locations across the country. Over the past five Take-Back events, the DEA and cooperating law enforcement officials collected more than 2 million pounds of drugs, successfully removing them from circulation.
“This is a great opportunity for those who missed the previous events, or who have subsequently accumulated unwanted, unused prescription drugs, to safely dispose of those medications,” the DEA stated.
Improper drug disposal poses risks to the environment and its ecosystems. In communities where buildings and homes are served by wastewater treatment facilities, drugs flushed down the sink or toilet can pass through treatment systems, which do not routinely remove drugs, and from there the medicines can enter bodies of water. When medications are flushed from a building with a septic system, they can flow into streams, rivers, and lakes, and leach into the soil, contaminating ground water.
Some groundwater contaminates can be reduced when they go through natural physical processes while in the ground. Polluted groundwater can also be pumped up from the ground, treated, and then pumped back into the ground. Help to protect workers involved in hazardous groundwater cleanups with safety supplies that include protective clothing, waterproof footwear, respiratory protection, gloves, and eye and face protection.