when flushed or thrown away can make their way into Hoosier water sources
throughout the state, potentially having a negative impact on aquatic life,
vegetation and wastewater treatment facilities.
Instead of flushing
old medicines down the drain, Indiana American Water is encouraging
customers and all Indiana residents to help eliminate water pollution by
participating in the Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) National Prescription
Drug Take Back Day, Saturday, October 28, 2017, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
at DEA approved sites.
anyone with unused or expired medication to securely drop them off at one of
the DEA sites,” said Deborah Dewey, Indiana American Water President. “We
must keep these items out of our waterways to ensure we keep Indiana’s water
publication from Harvard Medical School, Drugs in the Water, reports that
there’s no evidence of pharmaceutical and personal care products in the
water harming people, it does provide information on studies that are
showing adverse effects on aquatic life. The report outlines a study from
the U.S. Geological Survey that found, “measurable amounts of one or more
medications in 80% of the water samples drawn from a network of 139 streams
in 30 states. The drugs identified included a witches' brew of antibiotics,
antidepressants, blood thinners, heart medications (ACE inhibitors,
calcium-channel blockers, digoxin), hormones (estrogen, progesterone,
testosterone), and painkillers.”
United States Environmental Protection Agency warns, “In cities and towns
where residences are connected to wastewater treatment plants, prescription
and over-the-counter drugs poured down the sink or flushed down the toilet
can pass through the treatment system and enter rivers and lakes. They may
flow downstream to serve as sources for community drinking water supplies.
Water treatment plants are generally not equipped to routinely remove
In response to the
studies from Harvard University and the U.S. Geological Survey, residents
should locate participating spots such as local fire departments, police
stations and hospitals to drop off their old medications to be incinerated,
which is the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recommended approach
for pharmaceutical disposal. Flushing medications down the toilet and
throwing them in the trash are highly discouraged.
While not all
residents may be able to get to a DEA site on Saturday, Indiana American
Water leadership encourages all their customers and residents of Indiana to
www.in.gov/idem/recycle/2343.htm to find out where they can dispose of
expired prescription medication at a later date.
Dewey added, “By
properly disposing of these medications, we are protecting our waterways for
future generations but also the future of our communities by ensuring these
drugs, especially opioid painkillers, are not being diverted for recreation
and illegal uses.”
To locate a
participating pharmaceutical collection site near you, visit the DEA’s