Have you ever opened the medicine cabinet and had a dozen little orange bottles look back at you? Those bottles represent modern medicine, but they also represent a potential hazard. A pill to cure all ills is just a prescription away, but what happens when that particular pill is no longer a necessity in your everyday life? Keeping expired or unused medication around the home can lead to accidental drug overdose by children, and even drug abuse.
For some folks, a common practice is to flush expired prescription medication down the toilet. This old school way of thinking is “flush it down and let Mother Nature take care of it.” Unfortunately, that may allow these medications to make their way into the watershed.
Recent studies have found trace levels of drug residues in lakes, streams and in community drinking water supplies throughout the United States. A 2012 study published in the journal Environmental Science concluded that human drugs can disrupt the biology and behavior of fish and other aquatic critters at very low concentrations.
Riverside County Watershed Protection Program recommends some helpful tips to ensure our waterways and streams are drug-free.
- Find an official disposal location near you at www.RCWaste.org
- Before disposal, transfer pills from original containers to a small sealable plastic bag
- Remove all personal information from prescription, aerosol or liquid containers
Remember, our watershed doesn’t need a pill to feel better; it just needs caring people to do their part.