Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Safe Medication Disposal

Do you know how to safely dispose of medications? More than 60,000 young children under the age of five are seen in hospital emergency rooms each year due to accidental poisoning. In addition, it is important to realize that flushing and putting unused medications in the trash can pollute our lakes, streams and water supplies. A recent study shows that 80% of US streams contain small amounts of human medicine.

The best way to dispose of your unused medication is at a medication collection site. Please do not flush medication down the toilet. If you cannot get to a site, please take the following precautions when placing it in the trash:
  • Pour medication into a sealable plastic bag. If medication is a solid (pill, capsule etc.), add water to dissolve it.
  • Add kitty litter, coffee grounds or anything that would make it less appealing for children or pets to eat, to the bag.
  • Remove and destroy all identifying information on the prescription label on the medication containers before recycling or throwing them away.
  • Wrap sealed plastic bags and all empty containers in newspaper before putting them in the trash. This will help make sure that your unused medication is not easily seen and does not get into the wrong hands or eaten by a pet.
  • Put disposed medication in your trash can on the same day as your trash pick up. Leaving it in the trash over night or for just one day is enough time for someone else to find it. 
For more information and medication collection sites in Jefferson County see our brochure. You can also get more information through the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Hazardous Materials and Waste Division or visit www.coloradomedtakeback.info.

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