During the national September 29 unwanted medicine take back initiative, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) police collected 250 pounds of unwanted medications, a weight equivalent to five small children.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration started biannual collections in September, 2010, and the MWRD has participated in each of them as a way to prevent or reduce accidental contamination of streams, rivers and lakes. A nationwide total of over one million pounds of unwanted or expired medications have been removed from circulation.
“Wastewater treatment facilities are not designed to remove pharmaceutical products if they are poured down a drain or flushed down a toilet,” said Commissioner Kathleen Meany, chair of the Public Information and Education Committee. “The chemicals can work their way into lakes or streams and harm fish and other aquatic life. Special collection opportunities provide residents with a convenient and environmentally-friendly way to properly dispose of expired or unwanted medications.â€
Additional information about pharmaceutical waste disposal can be found at http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/.