Responsible Medication Disposal Safeguards Lives and Protects the Environment

Written by: Christian Tadrus, Pharm.D., R.Ph., FASCP
Sam’s Health Mart Pharmacies

Medicines play an important role in treating certain conditions and diseases and they must be taken with care. But when we no longer need a medication or they go unused for some reason they must also be disposed of properly to avoid harm to wildlife, pets, and people.

Numerous studies demonstrate that the endocrine systems of certain fish and wildlife have been affected by exposure to endocrine disrupting compounds. Endocrine disruption can be caused by exposure to synthetic or naturally occurring chemicals including pharmaceuticals, detergents, fragrances, fire retardants, disinfectants, plastics, resins, pesticides, and insect repellants.

Flushing medications down the toilet or pouring them down the drain are two of the many ways medications and other substances can enter waterways, which can harm the plants and animals that live there. One way to prevent this from happening is by increasing awareness about proper medication disposal.

Our pharmacies already partner with area law enforcement to assist with the National DEA Drug Take Back Days that happen twice each year.  These local events have helped prevent over 600 lbs of unnecessary and expired medcations from making their way into our local streams and ultimately, into our water supply.

That’s a good start but we want to do more.  So we’ve recently began supporting the outreach of an organization called SMARxT Disposal.  This is a national education partnership between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the American Pharmacists Association and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

The goal of the partnership is to help educate consumers about how to dispose of medicines in a safe and environmentally protective manner and increase awareness of the threats posed by flushing medicines or pouring them down the drain.

The recommendations put forward by SMARxT Disposal has already made a significant impact and even been adopted by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

So please take a few moments to review this important eco-friendly approach to disposing of unneeded medications.  Just click the logo below.


Christian Tadrus, Pharm.D., R.Ph., FASCP
Sam’s Health Mart Pharmacies
Moberly & Fayette, Missouri

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