Have unused medication you would like to properly dispose of?
at Pima County’s Dispose A Med website.
1. Don’t flush medications down the toilet or down the drain.
Sewage treatment plants cannot remove all of the pharmaceutical contaminants which could result in the pollution of our streams and the aquifers from which our drinking water is derived.
2. Don’t dispose of medications in the trash.
There is ample literature advising people to mix unwanted medications with coffee grounds, kitty litter or similar undesirable substances prior to disposal in a trash receptacle. While this method may prove adequate for preventing the accidental ingestion by children or domestic pets, it does not address the wildlife that may come into contact with the trash once it is outside of your home. Our Sonoran Desert is inhabited by numerous wildlife species including coyotes, coatimundi and our favorite cactus eating friends the javalina, with less discerning tastes that love to rummage through garbage cans. None of us wants to leave for work in the morning to find our neighborhood streets littered with drug crazed, or worse, dead javalina.
3. Bring your medications to a local Dispose-A-Med collection site, preferably still in the bottle.
Don’t dump all of your medications into a single bag when transporting to a collection site. Should you happen to get pulled over by police en route to the collection site, you may have a hard time explaining the large bag of pills in your possession. Just leave the pills in the original bottle so they are easily recognized as medications and not illegal drugs. Besides, the Dispose-A-Med members will gladly remove the labels for you to ensure your privacy and personal information is secure. The bottles are then recycled or donated to Pima Animal Control for their spay and neuter program where the bottles are reused in the dispensing of antibiotics and pain medications for pets.
4. So what happens to all those pills?
After each collection event, all collected medications are incinerated in coordination with DEA. The high temperature incinerator effectively decomposes the pharmaceutical compounds thereby preventing pollution of the air, water and environment.
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