Thinking about throwing that unwanted or expired medicine down the drain or in the garbage? Well, think again.
The Clinton County Department of Waste Management has teamed up with local law enforcement agencies and other area organizations since 2008 to host medication collection events that promote the proper disposal of pharmaceutical drugs.
Kate Neese, the recycling & waste management coordinator for Clinton County Department of Waste Management, helps organize the events and bring awareness to the issue.
“Other than rendering the medication useless at home, these events are really the only option. They can be landfilled but we discourage it because it can end up in the water since there’s no treatment.” said Neese. “If it comes to one of our events it gets incinerated.”
According to a study conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey, 80 percent of the streams sampled contained compounds found in medication. This water contamination ends up in our drinking water since standard treatments do not remove all pharmaceuticals.
Overall, Neese has seen the volume of medication at the collection events increase over the years.
“It’s great but we also see how wasteful the pharmaceutical companies are, especially when you have a program that will send you three months of a prescription and you only need two weeks of it because it doesn’t work,” she said. “People come in with all of these meds that somebody paid for somewhere but nobody wants to take back.”
The events are coordinated between the department of waste management, the multiple locations, volunteer pharmacists, and local police officers. Waste management takes the uncontrolled substances, while the pharmacist determines which medication is controlled and is then put into possession of the police.
Thomas Decker of the Bath Township Police Department is the officer that attends the collection events at the Bath Senior Center.
“Most people that bring in medications are seniors or their children,” said Decker. “It’s a very cool event, a lot of people stick around for quite a while other than just dropping off medication and eat, drink coffee, and talk. It’s a nice little event.”
The next collection event will be held at the Bath Township Senior Center on Saturday, March 11 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.