Drug Take-Back Day set for April 26

April 14, 2014

Circle April 26 on your calendar as this year's Drug Take-Back Day!

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. that day, unused and/or expired pharmaceuticals can be safely dropped off at:

  • Westroads Mall, Northeast parking lot, 1000 California St.
  • Kaplan University, 5425 N. 103rd St.
  • Walgreens, 8380 Harrison St., Ralston (10 a.m. to noon only)
  • Walgreens, 3121 S. 24th St.,
  • Walgreens 13155 W. Center Rd.,
  • Carter Lake City Hall, 950 Locust St., Carter Lake
  • Hy-Vee, 1000 S. 178th St.
  • Hy-Vee, 11650 S. 73rd St., Papillion
  • Ehrling Berquist Clinic, 2501 Capehart Rd., Offutt AFB
  • Offutt AFB Exchange Parking Lot, 106 Meyer Ave., Bldg. 166
  • CVS Pharmacy, 1701 Galvin Rd., Bellevue

For more information about this program, click here. Just for kicks, compare the FDA instructions for drug disposal with instructions from the EPA.

Why not just throw unused meds in the trash?

  • Hormones from birth control pills have been linked to male fish developing female characteristics and becoming sterile.
  • Hormones and antibiotics have been detected in aquifers near feedlots and landfills.
  • Antibiotics have been found in vegetables grown in fields fertilized with a sludge product derived from waste water treatment plants.

Why are we hearing about this now?

It is only recently that we have had the technology to detect pharmaceuticals in our water supply, and many of the medications we ingest have been developed comparatively recently. These medications find their way into the water supply in three ways: one is through waste products in the manufacturing process, another the discard of old medications by health organizations and individuals, and the third is that these substances are ingested and then eliminated.

Why aren't these substances filtered out of our water supply?

Wastewater treatment plants were designed to filter particles of waste and kill harmful bacteria, but can't filter the tiny molecules of pharmaceutical substances. As a matter of fact, some pharmaceuticals are made more toxic by interaction with the chlorine used to kill bacteria, and some are affected by enzyme reactions.

As municipalities work to improve water treatment to filter these ever-smaller molecules of drugs out of the water supply, we can do our part by taking our unused over the counter and prescription drugs to Drug Take Back events like the one coming up on April 26, and by taking them to participating pharmacies (such as Hy-Vee) during the rest of the year.

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