Today's post comes from guest author Hayes Jernigan*, from The Jernigan Law Firm.
Flushing drugs down the toilet is the old way of getting rid of unwanted, expired or unused drugs, but recent studies have shown that this practice harms our environment. Low levels of drugs, such as birth control and anti-depressants among others, are being found in our lakes, rivers and streams and are negatively impacting fish populations and other aquatic life. Long term exposure in our waters can eventually lead to drug-resistant bacteria that will ultimately render our drugs ineffective.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has recently released recommended ways to dispose of controlled substances including take-back events, where pharmacies, hospitals or clinics allow you to bring them your unused medications for them to dispose of properly, or mail-back programs and also collection receptacle locations, where you can drop off your unused medications. You can ask your pharmacist about whether any of these programs are offered in your area or contact your city or county’s trash and recycling services. If none of the recommended take-back programs are available in your area you should follow these 3 simple steps to dispose of most medicines in your household trash:
Mix medicines (do NOT crush tablets or capsules) with an unpalatable substance such as kitty litter or used coffee grounds; and
Place the mixture in a container such as a sealed plastic bag; and
Then throw the container in your household trash.
(Before throwing out your empty pill bottle or other empty medicine packaging, remember to scratch out all information on the prescription label to make it unreadable).
Photo source: http://www.citizenscampaign.org/campaigns/pharmaceutical-disposal.asp
*Margaret Hayes Jernigan, born Raleigh, North Carolina; admitted to bar, 2014, North Carolina and U.S. District Court, Eastern, Middle and Western Districts of North Carolina; Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Education and Certifications: The Hill School, Pennsylvania (2004); The University of the South: Sewanee (B.A. 2008); North Carolina Central University School of Law (J.D. 2014, summa cum laude); U.S. Peace Corps, Senegal, West Africa (2008-2010).
Bars and Courts: Admitted to North Carolina State Bar in 2014. Admitted to practice in all of the Federal District Courts of North Carolina and the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Affiliations: North Carolina Advocates for Justice; North Carolina Bar Association; Wake County Bar Association; North Carolina Association of Women Attorneys; and the Workers Injury Law and Advocacy Group (WILG).
Areas of Practice: Workers’ Compensation; Environmental Law; Consumer Law.