Published Online: Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Improper disposal of prescription medications has become such a problem that it is creating environmental hazards for the nation's waterways, said officials at the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

At least part of the problem can be traced back to bad advice from pharmacists and government officials, who for years have urged patients to flush expired or unneeded prescription drugs down the toilet.

In an effort to correct the problem, the federal agency has joined with the American Pharmacists Association in a new public awareness campaign to promote proper disposal of prescription drugs. In announcing the new "SMARxT Disposal" campaign, the 2 groups call on patients not to flush unused medications (unless instructed to do so on the drug's labeling). Instead, officials are urging patients to "crush solid medications or dissolve them in water (this applies to liquid medications as well) and mix [them] with kitty litter or sawdust (or any material that absorbs the dissolved medication and makes it less appealing for pets or children to eat), then place in a sealed plastic bag before tossing in the trash."

Visit ePharmacy Times at www.pharmacy times.com/articleNewsletter.cfm?ID=4506 for more information on the proper disposal of medication.

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