GREEN ALTERNATIVE TO FLUSHING UNUSED MEDICATIONS

(by Matthew Forte, Assistant Editor    from TWINELINE 2011 Summer/Fall)

At one time we were advised to flush unwanted prescription drugs down the toilet to prevent them from falling into the hands of children or criminals.  That was before research showed that our water treatment plants don’t have the technology to remove dangerous chemicals from wastewater before it comes out of our taps.

Thanks to funding from a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative project, representatives from Sea Grant programs are working to educate the public about the risks of flushing meds and are hosting collection sites where people can safely discard unwanted medicine.

At a recent event in Pennsylvania, officials collected over 100,000 pills in four hours.  Since the project began in October 2010, partner Sea Grant programs have destroyed 1,340,000   collected pills.  Officials place approximately 55,000 pills in 55-gallon drums and destroy them in a high-temperature incinerator.

Sea Grant programs in Ohio and New York are educating anglers and boaters about the effect pharmaceutical chemicals have on fish behavior and physiology.  The fishermen are passing the word along to members of their communities.

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Lake County has collection bins at Lake County Sheriff’s Office, 104 E Erie St, Pvlle     Mentor Police Dept, 8500 Civic Center Blvd,     Willoughby Hills Police Dept, 35405 Chardon Rd,    Madison Township Police Dept, 2065 Hubbard Rd,      Lakeland Community College Police Dept, 7700 Clocktower Dr, Building A, lower level

Disposal hours are 7 AM to 8 PM Mon-Fri   9 AM to 5 PM Sat    1 PM to 5 PM Sun, no Sunday hours at Lakeland Community College Police.

To maintain privacy, remove or black out personal information on pharmacy labels and leave medicines in original package or container.  No needles or syringes permitted.

In a couple of weeks, I’ll have stats from the Lake County Health Department showing how successful the program has been since it was instituted Last December.  Hint:  Very!

TWINELINE is an award-winning magazine published by the Ohio Sea Grant.  It covers issues, events and research related to Lake Erie and the Great Lakes.

You’ll find subscription information for the printed magazine and for a free electronic subscription at http://ohioseagrant.osu.edu/publications/twineline/

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