|UNWANTED MEDICINES COLLECTION
The Knoxville Police Department, City and County Solid Waste Offices, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, UT Academy of Student Pharmacists, Knoxville Utilities Board, Metropolitan Drug Commission, Hallsdale Powell Utility District, and the Knox County Health Department sponsor Unwanted Medicines Collection events during the year.
The events offer residents an opportunity to turn in unwanted and/or outdated and expired prescription medicines and over the counter medications for proper disposal b KPD. And, all empty containers and packaging are also properly recycled.
Events take place around the City three to four times a year. Usually scheduled in March and April and at the America Recycles Day event in the fall. Locations to be announced.
The goal of the collection is to prevent these pharmaceutical and over the counter products from getting into the waterways - or into the hands of children - and to make sure they are disposed of in a safe, environmentally-friendly manner.
Other than the events, old or unused prescriptions and over the counter drugs may be brought to the Knoxville Police Department's Safety Building, located at 800 Howard Baker Jr. Avenue, for disposal at anytime, twenty fours a day seven days a week. The KPD maintains a secure collection container there on a permanent basis just inside the lobby.
The collection events are part of a nationwide effort to reduce the amount of drugs that are entering water systems from either being flushed or poured down drains.
For more information about a medication collection and safe drug disposal event, contact either John Homa, the City's Solid Waste Public Manager, at 215-2872 or Officer Craig McNew with the KPD at 215-7031.
INFORMATION ON PHARMACEUTICALS
Unwanted Pharmaceuticals are both an environmental and a health and safety problem.
Drugs enter the environment in several ways:
Unwanted drugs are disposed in the toiler or sink
Passed from the body to the sewage system
Sewage treatment plants cannot remove all types of medications
Dispose of unused or unwanted medications at take-back sites
Do NOT dispose of any medication down the toilet
Purchase drugs in small amounts, limiting expired medications
Ask for medications with low environmental impact
Encourage your health provider to take back unused and expired drugs
Commit to health and wellness strategies to reduce your reliance on medications
Choose meat and poultry raised without hormones and antibiotics
Old or unused medicines should be brought to a collection event or, after the event to the Knoxville Police Department Safety Building at 800 Howard Baker Jr. Ave.
Do not prescribe more medication than can be used
Prescribe starter packs and refill packs
Review and regularly reassess the patient’s total consumption of medication
Learn which drugs have the highest eco-toxicity
Educate patients, consumers and colleagues about the importance of proper disposal of pharmaceutical waste
WHAT ARE PPCPs?
Pharmaceutical and Personal Care Products (PPCPs) include prescription and over the counter drugs, fragrances, cosmetics, sun screen agents, nutritional supplements and herbs.
The U.S. EPA considers the presence of PPCPs in the environment one of the most significant emerging threats of the 21st century
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency the potential environmental impacts of pharmaceuticals
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) research on the presence of pharmaceuticals in the environment
HOW DO DRUGS AFFECT OUR ENVIRONMENT?
Current research provides evidence on a range of impacts to living organisms. Estrogens cause male fish to become female. Antidepressants cause lobsters to become more aggressive. Prozac induces reproduction in shellfish. These are just a few examples of PPCPs impact on the environment.
HOW DO PPCPs AFFECT HUMAN HEALTH?
The evidence for the direct consequences of PPCPs on humans is only beginning to be investigated. A landmark study in 2006 found that a mix of 13 common medications found in some drinking waters across the U.S.
inhibits cell growth in human embryonic cells. This is one of the few studies that looks at how mixtures of prevalent medications can affect biological activity even at low concentrations.
WHY ARE THERE UNUSED DRUGS?
We rely heavily on pharmaceuticals in our current medical systems. Drug consumption in the U.S. has grown 109% from 2000-2004. 4 out of 5 patients leave their doctor’s office with at least one prescription. Doctors often discontinue medications, causing others to go unused. Consumers also purchase certain drugs in large quantities that eventually expire. A recent take-back program in San Francisco found the average household had 2.7 pounds of unwanted or expired drugs.
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR DISPOSING UNUSED MEDICINES?
Currently, pharmacists, law enforcement agencies and municipal waste organizations are taking the most responsibility for properly disposing of unused drugs. To achieve zero waste, “cradle to cradle” product stewardship is necessary. This means everyone including the manufacturers, distributors, retail pharmacies, physicians, veterinarians and consumers all participate in unused product recycling and disposal.