Reducing the Side Effects of Life
Pinellas County (March 2009) - Side effects: it’s a medicated world we live in, and we’ve learned that there are always side effects associated with medications. One of the side effects you can control is the amount that ends up in Florida’s waterways. Pinellas County Utilities reminds citizens that medication, prescription as well as over-the-counter, should never be poured down the drain or flushed in the toilet.
Pinellas County Utilities routinely tests for microbiological and radiological contaminants, inorganic contaminants such as arsenic and other substances in our drinking water, but your help is needed to reduce the level of pharmaceutical waste being introduced into wastewater systems. Wastewater treatment systems, including septic tanks, are not designed to remove pharmaceuticals and research has shown that these substances can harm our aquatic environments. We can reduce that risk by properly disposing of unwanted medications.
To dispose of old medicines, follow these safety tips:
Contact your physician or pharmacy to see if they have a take-back program.
Packaging—Keep the medication in the original container to help identify the contents if they are accidentally ingested.
Privacy—Mark out the patient’s name and prescription number.
Treating—“Treat” pills by adding water or soda to dissolve them. For liquids, add something inedible such as cat litter or dirt.
Sealing—Close the lid and secure with duct or packing tape. Place the bottle(s) inside an opaque (non-transparent) container such as a coffee can or plastic laundry bottle.
Tape that container closed.
Hiding—Hide the container in the trash. Do not place in a recycle bin.
The proper disposal of medication: it’s one of those times in life where we are rewarded for reducing risk. More information can be found online in Pinellas County Utilities’ A to Z Guide at: www.pinellascounty.org/utilities/getridofit