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September 2011
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CityLink Seattle

Drugs: Prevent Poisoning, Abuse, and Pollution

Do you have old, unused, unwanted, or expired medications?

Drug overdoses and related poisonings have surpassed car crashes as the leading cause of accidental deaths in Washington State. Teenagers are the biggest abusers of prescription drugs…often easily obtained from home medicine cabinets.

How do you dispose of your leftover medicines?

Medicines should not be put into food or yard waste cart. Trash disposal of drugs is not safe because pets, other animals, children and adults have easy access. Medicines flushed down the toilet waste more than just water, they create an environmental hazard. While not found in Seattle’s drinking water, medicines are showing up in our treated wastewater, groundwater, and Puget Sound waterways. Scientists have discovered a range of adverse effects in fish and other aquatic life exposed to pharmaceutical residues, from impaired reproduction to less-fit offspring.

Drug Take-Back Programs are the safest method of disposing of leftover prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Click here for disposal locations or phone the Local Hazardous Waste Management Program at 206-296-4692.