By Terri Bennett
(MCT)—If you’re anything like me, you probably have a few old prescriptions that have been hanging around for years. Those orange plastic bottles may contain the last antibiotic from a bout of strep throat or a medication that you never even used. I’ve always known that it’s a bad idea to toss these in the trash or to flush them down a drain because they can contaminate our water supply and cause untold environmental and health problems. Now, there’s a simple way to Do Your Part and get rid of all your old medicines in a responsible way.
You may not think that your old prescriptions can impact the planet in a big way. However, when you start to add up the ones that you contribute, the ones your neighbors do, the ones in other countries and around the world — you can start to see how it quickly adds up and adds up big. Now there is an annual Prescription Drug Take Back Day held by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and this year it takes place on Saturday, April 27th. From 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., in multiple locations right where you live, you will be able to drop off your old medications. The DEA also makes it easy for you to find those drop-off locations on their website. I simply typed in my ZIP code and immediately, seven locations popped up all within a few miles from my home. Check out DoYourPart.com/Columns for a direct link to this search engine.
There are many advantages to going through your bathroom and kitchen cabinets to seek out these unused medications and drop them off on Saturday. The DEA points out that unused prescriptions are often stolen, misused, or the cause of accidental poisonings and overdoses at home. And of course, these drugs can also damage eco-systems if disposed of incorrectly. But, if the national take-back day isn’t convenient for you, there are other options. You can now buy a postage paid envelope to responsibly dispose of many prescriptions and over the counter drugs. The Take Away Environmental Return System is now available through many national retailers — especially pharmacies and online.
Whichever route you choose, a safer way to get rid of prescription drugs is always the best option. Do Your Part on this National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. I will.
Terri Bennett is a national speaker, eco-expert, and author of Do Your Part: A practical guide for everyday green living available at DoYourPart.com. Send questions or speaker requests to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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