New York Sea Grant’s Coastal Education Specialist Helen Domske
has been working with other specialists throughout Sea Grant’s Great Lakes programs for the past year on the “Dose of Reality” campaign, funded by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. She and others in the region have informed nearly 796,000 people about targeted ways to keep unused prescription drugs out of New York’s waterways. As part of that effort, to date, nearly 2.5 million pills have been collected.
“When medications are no longer needed – whether they are expired, unwanted, or don’t have to be taken any more – people used to think the best disposal was to flush them down the toilet,” says Domske. "Now we know this might have environmental impacts."
" The best way to dispose of unwanted medicines is to either take them to a take-back program or to a pharmacy if they accept such items," she says. "If people cannot use a take-back program, they should mix the medicine with something that's unattractive to pets or people, like used coffee grinds or kitty litter, put them in a plastic bag, tape it up and then place it in a non-recyclable plastic container and throw it out in the trash.”
— Paul C. Focazio