Tomorrow is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. The event, which is organized by the Drug Enforcement Administration, has both public health and environmental benefits.
During last year’s drug take back events in Utah nearly 34,000 pounds of drugs were collected. That included over-the-counter medications, prescription heart and cholesterol drugs and controlled substances.
Tomorrow there will be nearly 200 permanent and temporary collection sites throughout the state. That means lots of places to get rid of drugs besides flushing them down the toilet where they wind up in our water.
Marie Owens is the director of Utah’s Division of Drinking Water.
“These compounds are difficult to remove and very low amounts of them can be detected and may have impacts on the drinking waters,” she said.
According to Owens, Utah’s water is relatively free of pharmaceuticals, but safely tossing old drugs will keep it that way.
The other obvious reason to clean out your medicine cabinet is opioid risk. In Utah the majority of people abusing opioids start with prescription drugs they got from a family member or friend. Last year more than 2,000 lbs. of controlled substances were collected during the drug take back events.