Blog | Friday, November 7, 2008

Tell me about your extra drugs!


Earlier this year, the Associated Press did a big investigation of the levels of pharmaceuticals in our drinking and ground water. A lot of the drugs get into the water after passing through people's bodies, but some end up there because patients are following the traditional instructions for disposal of unused medications--flush 'em.

I'm working on a story, as part of our Medicine and the Environment series, about what physicians can do to help fix this problem. Obviously, if you have a drug takeback program in your area, that's great. But if you don't, what should you be telling patients to do with their leftover meds?

I found one article that details the laborious process (involving kitty litter and unmarked containers) recommended by the federal government, but I highly doubt that's getting a lot of play in offices or homes around the country. So, has anyone ever asked you what to do with their unused medications? What do you tell them? If it were a relatively simple process, would you be willing to collect the meds?