In response to recent concerns about traces of pharmaceutical and personal care products found in drinking water across the United States, the Nebraska Pharmacists Association (NPA) has partnered with the Groundwater Foundation, the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, the Nebraska Board of Pharmacy, and the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department to create the Nebraska MEDS (Medication Education on Disposal Strategies) Program. The focus of Nebraska MEDS program is to educate patients about proper disposal of prescription and over-the-counter medications.
Don't Flush Unwanted Medications
If flushed down the drain, unneeded or expired medications can contaminate our water. In 2002, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) released a study that detailed very low concentrations of medications in 80% of 139 waterways across the country. Seven streams and groundwater samples in Nebraska were included in this study. Nonprescription drugs like acetaminophen were found most frequently. Less commonly found were prescriptions drugs such as antibiotics, hormones and even antidepressants.
Check Your Medicine Cabinet
Individuals and families are all likely to find a variety of unused, expired and unneeded medications in their homes. Any left-over medications should be disposed of properly for the following reasons:
It is UNSAFE to reuse medications. If a person thinks a prescription medication is needed, they should contact a doctor.
Unused medications are often INEFFECTIVE because they have been kept past their expiration date or they have been stored improperly.
Unused medications can make a person's home the target of BURGLARY OR THEFT by drug abusers.
Unwanted medications can be found and ingested by children or pets, resulting in accidental POISONING.
The Nebraska MEDS Disposal program has contracted with Sharps Compliance, Inc., a company that specializes in medical (ie. Sharps & used healthcare materials) and unused medication disposal to offer Lincoln and Lancaster County pharmacies the TakeAway Environmental Return System. The Nebraska MEDS Coalition is piloting the Nebraska MEDS Disposal program through August 2013. The program, funded by the Nebraska Environmental Trust, will provide residents with options to dispose of unwanted and unused non-controlled medications to participating pharmacies.
Information for Patients
For more information or questions, contact Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department at (402) 441-8084 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.