Pharmaceutical Take-Back Day

The US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has organized the third nautional pharmaceutical take-back day on Saturday, October 29, between 10am and 2pm in locations across the United States. The DEA website allows you to type in your zip code and find the locations nearest to you. There are numerous locations in Brooklyn and other NYC boroughs—more will be added to the database until the day of the event.

The amount of pharmaceuticals currently in use has become an environmental problem, because, like everything else, sooner or later the drugs turn into waste products. Trace elements of a wide variety of drugs including antibiotics, anti-depressants and sex hormones have been found in lakes and rivers as well as numerous municipal water supplies. In an effort to mitigate this problem, pharmaceutical take-back events have been organized to properly collect and dispose of left-over medications so they do not migrate into the environment.

This is not a reason to switch to bottled water, much of which
comes from municipal water supplies. Our drinking water is carefully monitored. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires hundreds of tests each month on municipal water supplies, but the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates bottled water, requires only one test per week. New York City is blessed with an exceptionally good water supply—let’s do what we can to keep it that way.

Last April's second National Prescription Drug Take-Back event garnered more than 376,593 pounds (188 tons) of unwanted or expired medications at the 5,361 take-back sites that were available in all 50 states. This is 55 percent more than the 242,000 pounds (121 tons) the public brought in during last September’s event.