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Pill-flushing problem acknowledged US government


Prescription drugs

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https://www.naturalnews.com/046827_prescription_drugs_waste_disposal_US_government.html
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(NaturalNews) On Monday, Attorney General Eric Holder announced plans to expand a government take-back program of prescription drugs in an attempt to tackle America's growing dependency on Big Pharma's best-selling products.

The new policy authorizes the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to allow hospitals, pharmacies, clinics and other pre-approved locations to serve as drop-off sites for unused prescription drugs. The expansion is an addition to an already intact program that's existed for four years.

The DEA's next take-back event is scheduled for Sept. 27. By clicking here, you can find drop-off centers near you.

Prescription users will be able to directly mail in their unused medications to authorized collectors, a convenience that could help lessen water pollution caused by flushing drugs down the toilet.

Despite the government's friendly, enabling and lucrative relationship with large pharmaceutical companies, officials say they are concerned about the growing epidemic of prescription drug abuse.

"Prescription drug misuse and abuse is an urgent -- and growing -- threat to our nation and its citizens," stated Holder in a video message posted on the agency's website on Sept. 8.

"According to a 2013 survey, roughly 6.5 million people ages 12 and older are current nonmedical users of prescription drugs," Holder added.

"These shocking statistics illustrate that prescription drug addiction and abuse represent nothing less than a public health crisis. And every day, this crisis touches -- and devastates -- the lives of Americans from every state, in every region, and from every background and walk of life."

Officials stress that, by collecting unused prescriptions drugs from homes, hospitals and long-term care facilities, drug abuse can be restricted. At a recent take-back event last April, the DEA collected nearly 400 tons of prescription drugs from about 6,100 sites, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ).

The DEA and partnering agencies collected more than 4.1 million pounds of pharmaceuticals over the last four years, indicating a greater need for efficient drug disposal.

Recent studies have shown that small concentrations of various types of prescription pills are entering the public's water supply through "flushing" disposal methods, a practice that even hospitals have been caught executing.

The DOJ lends contradicting information regarding the proper disposal of prescription drugs. Under the 2010 Controlled Substances Act (CSA), destroying prescription pills via the flushing method (down either the toilet or the sink) is one of three recommended disposal methods.

However, a DEA handout entitled "Got Drugs" cautions against flushing pills due their water polluting capabilities. Instead, for those that cannot return the drugs to authorized collector stations, removing meds from the bottle and mixing them with "something unappealing," such as used cat litter, before throwing them away is instructed.

The DEA's revised recommendation for disposal is progressive; however, much more needs to be done to protect citizens from pharmaceutical-contaminated water. The Agency's Final Rule for the Disposal of Controlled Substances, made available in the Federal Register, restricts certain DEA registrants -- including manufacturers, distributors, narcotic treatment programs, pharmacies and hospitals or clinics with pharmacies -- from using the flushing disposal method, but it remains an approved practice for most others. Conflicting with this rule change, the Agency's website states, "Any method of disposal that was valid prior to these new regulations being implemented continues to be valid."

A 2008 investigation by The Associated Press discovered that at least 41 million Americans have remnants of prescription pills in their water, as reported by Natural News. This is particularly problematic for two major reasons. Firstly, water treatment plants are completely unequipped to remove prescription drugs from the water, as these substances are outside the box for what they usually test for and filter.

Secondly, even though chemical concentrations have been detected at low levels, the long-term effects of consuming varying amounts of random medications together are unknown. Plus, they're not the greatest for the environment either. Animal waste laced with hormones and antibiotics enters into our water systems, and in some cases feminizes male fish, altering the female-to-male ratios, according to a study led by Harvard.

The government's expanded take-back program is definitely a step in the right direction, but continued awareness and education is key to preventing improper disposal of prescription drugs.

Additional sources:

http://www.usatoday.com

http://www.naturalnews.com

http://water.epa.gov [PDF]

http://www.justice.gov

http://www.justice.gov [PDF]

http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov [PDF]

http://www.health.harvard.edu

http://www.justice.gov

https://s3.amazonaws.com [PDF]

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