A week ago my elderly cat passed away. For the last three to four years he was on a number of medications to maintain his quality of life. But after his passing I still have a few left over.

So I searched for information on the internet on how to dispose of them. I know that some pharmacies accept out of date or unneeded prescription drugs and I wanted to find one near my home. I was able to do that. I haven’t been there yet so I hope the online information is correct.

But I was appalled at how many websites suggested throwing them in the trash or mix them with kitty litter or coffee grounds and then throw them away.

Here’s a typical post:

First, mix the medicines (do not crush tablets or capsules) with an unpalatable substance such as dirt, kitty litter, or used coffee grounds. Then place the mixture in a container such as a zip-top or sealable plastic bag, and throw the container away in your household trash.

And here’s the advice from the FDA:

Your best choices for disposal of unused or expired medicines are:

Medicine take-back options,
Disposal in the household trash and
Flushing certain potentially dangerous medicines in the toilet

Flush them down the toilet? Really?

Well this past week I had some minor abdominal surgery and was given a prescription for a low dose opioid to help control he pain. In the packet of post op information provided by the hospital was the statement that to avoid abuse of any unused medication, I should flush any remaining drugs down the toilet.

This is the best we can do? Reports over the past several years have already warned about the hazards of measurable drug residue in our drinking water…hormones, opioids, antibiotics and anti-depressants…just from general use and our bodies excreting the unused portions of the drugs. So we should add to the mess by flushing other hazardous and addicting medications down the toilet and eventually into our water supply? Really? WTF?

Considering the huge profits made by the drug companies and the fact that there is a Walgreen’s or CVS pharmacy in every neighborhood…there is no reason unused and expired medications can’t be returned to each and everyone of these pharmacies at anytime.

We worry about the big things…lead poisoning…manure in the water…mining slag…but we miss the subtle things like this…and drugs in the water supply is just as dangerous as any of the others.

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