The federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will conduct a nationwide prescription drug collection on Saturday, September 26, 2015 from 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM. Collection locations can be found here: http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/
Until recently, consumers have been told to flush unwanted drugs down sinks and toilets. With technological advances and research, low levels of drugs are now being found in our surface waters. We know that some drugs pass largely unaltered through our wastewater treatment plants and enter rivers and other waters. Drugs from heath care facilities, pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities, and farms can also find their way into the water. Although the health and environmental consequences are still being studied, we do know that:
- Flushed medications have been found our lakes, rivers and streams
A nationwide study done in 1999 and 2000 by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) found low levels of drugs such as antibiotics, hormones, contraceptives and steroids in 80% of the rivers and streams tested.
- Fish and other aquatic wildlife are being adversely affected
Studies have shown that male fish have been feminized (produced eggs) when exposed to hormones (birth control pills). Other drugs, such as anti-depressants and beta-blockers, reduce fertility or affect spawning in certain aquatic organisms. Even expired medications can cause these effects.
- Drug-resistant bacteria might develop
Long-term exposure to low levels of antibiotics might result in the evolution of, or selection for, drug-resistant microbes and bacteria.