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Monday, October 3, 2011

Unused Medication Dilemma

Every year millions of Americans are prescribed medications for a whole host of problems; pain management, anti-anxiety, and anti-depression are some of the most common reasons people are prescribed medications today. With more people turning to prescription medications than ever, there has been a concern in a number of states regarding disposal of unused medications. Unused medications often end up in the wrong hands fueling people's addiction, sometimes sold and other times stolen by teenagers rummaging through their parents medicine cabinet. In an attempt to cut back on such activities, certain states have formed medication disposal programs. Such programs have proven to be an effective solution to the growing home stock piles of unused prescription medications. Unfortunately, these programs are quite costly, especially for states that have environmental protection laws in place which force states to send medications out of state for proper disposal.

Maine is a state with strict environmental laws which costs the state a lot of money slated for collecting unused medications which is being diverted to pay for the cost of outsourcing the job of disposal. In order to slash costs, Maine is experimenting with composting prescription medications so that they are safe to send to the landfill or be used for other purposes. Maine officials hope composting will be an inexpensive solution to disposing of medications, according to the Morning Sentinel. The article points out that Maine rounds up more unused medications per resident than any other state in the country. It is frightening to think that in a low population state like Maine, prescription drug use is extremely high.

State officials plan to try a number of composting ideas by putting the unused drugs into bins which will be monitored as the drugs break down. If the plan is successful, state officials will be able to safely dispose of the drugs. A number of people who are uninformed about prescription drug disposal programs will often flush unused drugs down the toilet which is terrible for the water supply. Hopefully, state disposal programs will work hard to keep their citizens informed about disposal programs so that unused medications end up in the right hands and the right place.

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