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Options For Disposal Of Unused Medications In Kitsap County

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

Unused and outdated medications left in the home may pose serious human health risks, from accidental poisonings of children to abuse of narcotics and other potentially dangerous substances. When disposed of improperly, medications also pose environmental risks.

One of the biggest environmental concerns is the presence of medications in local septic systems, wastewater treatment facilities, and watersheds. Wastewater facilities cannot sufficiently treat medications, so they eventually pass through to the Puget Sound. Certain medications can damage the operation of individual septic systems.

So, what should you do with old medications?

NEVER flush any unused or outdated medications down the drain or down the toilet. This only adds to the volume of medications being discharged to local watersheds.

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Find a clinic or pharmacy that will take back your medications. In Kitsap County, Group Health offers a pilot take back program for many of these items. You don’t have to be a Group Health member to use it.

Pharmacy take back programs are a safe and secure method of managing unused or outdated medicines. Until these options are more widespread, residents can carefully treat pharmaceuticals for management as garbage, follow these instructions:

1. Modify the medication to discourage consumption. Add something unappealing, such as kitty litter, sawdust, or grease.

2. Seal and conceal. Place modified medication in a sealable bag, and then place in a non-transparent container to ensure that the contents cannot be seen.

3. Discard. Discard the container into the garbage away from children or pets. Do not place in the recycle cart.