Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Keeping Rx Drugs out of the Waste Stream and Our Medicine Cabinets

By now pretty much everyone has heard about the mutant animals that keep showing up in our nation’s rivers. Intersexed fish have been found in the Potomac, for example. These malformed animals are especially alarming because the area’s human residents draw their drinking water from the same said river.

While there is strong evidence that some of the malformations may be due to chemicals which are washing out of our lawns and from farmlands in the form of excess weed killers, there is also a great deal of research showing that our own wastewater plays a role in contaminating the watershed. That's because the meds we take eventually make their way into the waste stream with the rest of the sewage.

For years, law enforcement officials have also been asking people to flush unused prescription drugs down the toilet, since excess or leftover prescriptions form a safety threat if left sitting around unused in medicine cabinets. This unfortunately meant that an even larger number of dangerous things were making their way downstream via the toilet.

Considering all of this, I was really pleased to see an announcement from the city of Rockville last week. On Saturday, September 25, the city will join the national Take-Back Initiative, which is aimed at preventing pill abuse and theft. Such events can help stop the rise in addiction to prescription medications, while at the same time help to decrease the amount of chemicals entering our waterways.

For more information about this event, go to or call 240-314-8922.

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