Letter: Proper Disposal Of Unused Medications

On April 30, many television stations announced that on this day, unused and/or discontinued medications could be brought to local fire and police departments for “proper disposal.” The program was started to deter and discourage people from disposing unused and discontinued medications in toilets, a practice unsafe and condemned for public health reasons.

The proper disposal of unused and discontinued medications is a serious health concern, because it is estimated that approximately 60 percent of water is reused mainly for agriculture, with plants and animals in the food chain, potentially passing such pollutants, eventually, to humans.

If the practice of dumping unused and discontinued medications is widespread, the potential for even trace amounts could produce an array of “mystery” illnesses and a serious health concern, especially among the elderly and very young. I believe there is evidence that proper inservice is necessary for the public and receivers of unused and discontinued medications, in this case, the police and fire department personnel.

Richard Nielsen, Royal Palm Beach