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October 28th, 2011

Friends Don’t Let Friends Flush Drugs

drug take-back day

Photo by Tom Varco used with permission.

By Rich Bindell

Perhaps you’re one of those people who actually remember to go through your medicine cabinet every year, ridding yourself of expired prescription and over-the-counter drugs, as well as other toiletries that have a suggested date for disposal. But, how exactly do you dispose of your unwanted medicines, lotions cosmetics and such? Do you throw them in the garbage or flush them down the toilet? We hope you don’t do either, but even if you have, let’s take this opportunity to begin again with our friends at Potomac Riverkeeper. Learn how to do it right on Saturday, October 29 at the Drug Enforcement Agency’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day in the District of Columbia.

Potomac Riverkeeper will be out and about in the DC metro area on Saturday, helping local law enforcement and encouraging consumers to “make a commitment” by safely discarding their unused drugs at one of their collection sites. They have a map of sites throughout the entire Potomac Watershed so you can find a convenient location. Check out

Drug Take-Back Day was designed to remind us that the remnants of our unwanted products can have a huge effect on the environment, depending on how we dispose of them. Unused or expired medication can pollute our drinking water and rivers. Even products that we use every day can sometimes pose a threat to our health or the environment.

Triclosan, an antimicrobial pesticide used in thousands of products you use regularly like, toothpaste, hand soap, face wash, body lotion and cosmetics, accumulates in the environment and contaminates surface and ground water. It also survives the wastewater treatment process and persists in sludge that is dumped on agricultural crops.

Even though there are lots of things in our bathrooms that shouldn’t get poured down the drain or flushed down the toilet, Saturday is just about drugs. Be sure and plan some time to gather up your expired pills and bring them to one of the designated collection sites. It’s time to take responsibility for our leftover medicinals.

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