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A Prescription for Proper Disposal: Take Back Day 2013

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A Prescription for Proper Disposal: Take Part in National Take Back Day, Oct. 26

(Hampton Roads, Va., Oct. 10, 2013) — Looking for a proper way to dispose of expired and unused medications in your home? As part of the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day Oct. 26, law enforcement agencies across Hampton Roads will accept all prescription and over-the-counter medications from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Residents can find the collection site nearest them by entering their zip code into the National Take Back Initiative Collection Site locator.

The program is sponsored by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as a way to address both public safety and health concerns. Medicines that languish in cabinets at home are highly susceptible to misuse and abuse. In addition, flushing medicines down the toilet is harmful to the environment. That’s a message that wants residents to remember.

“When it comes to ‘what not to flush,’ medications are a big no-no,” said Julia B Hillegass, team leader. “Wastewater treatment plants are designed to treat the water that goes down toilets and sinks; the treatment plants do not remove medications from wastewater. Flushing meds can contaminate the environment when the treated wastewater is discharged back into our waterways.”

Last April, Americans turned in 371 tons (over 742,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at over 5,800 sites operated by the DEA and its thousands of state and local law enforcement partners. In its six previous Take-Back events, DEA and its partners took in over 2.8 million pounds—more than 1,400 tons—of pills.
If you can’t make it to one of the prescription drug collection sites on Oct. 26, check with on how to properly dispose of prescription medicines.

Good to Do Tip

Medication take-back programs offered at local pharmacies or drugstores are the ideal way to properly and safely dispose of unwanted medication. Another option is to crush solid medications or dissolve them in water, then mix with kitty litter, sawdust or anything that makes the drug unavailable or unappealing for a pet or child to eat. This also works with liquid medications.

About is your go-to resource for all things green in Hampton Roads— from recycling tips and pointers for keeping local waterways clean to water-saving ideas and simple steps to make local living easy on the environment. Launched in 2011, the region-wide public awareness and education campaign is administered through the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission and powered by the following members: The cities of Chesapeake, Franklin, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Poquoson, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Virginia Beach, and Williamsburg; the counties of Gloucester, Isle of Wight, James City, Southampton, Surry and York; and HRSD. Like on facebook, follow on Twitter, tune in to YouTube and catch the “Let’s Talk Green” blog, written by a team of local experts.