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How To Properly Dispose of Prescription Meds in Colorado

Americans take more prescription drugs than ever before. In 2005, over 3.6 billion prescriptions were filled – a 71 percent increase from 1994.

However, this does not mean that every capsule is consumed. Many keep unused drugs in their medicine cabinets, past their expiration dates, while others flush extra pharmaceuticals down the drain.

Our water supplies are tainted with everything from anti-histamines to hormones. Steve Gunderson, head of the Colorado Water Quality Control Division, said trace quantities of medications and other personal products have appeared in some of Colorado’s most remote water.

A Thornton lawmaker says a bill that would require pharmacies to take back hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of unused prescription drugs each year would save the state money and protect public water supplies.

Under a bill approved in 2008 by the Senate Health & Human Services Committee, nursing homes could return unopened pills, lotions and liquids bought by the state with Medicaid dollars, and pharmacies would have to refund state money.

Prescription recycling programs now provide a two-pronged benefit: first, providing medication to the poor and second, helping protect the environment by keeping the medication out of the drinking water.

Under current law, the best option for disposing of prescription medication properly is to throw away your medications but first render them unusable by putting glue (such as Elmer’s) in with the pills and throwing them out in a sealed container.

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