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bumper sticker:

Saturday, August 27, 2016
..."when you say you throw your trash away, where is 'away'?" It is plastered on the back of a vehicle I see on a regular basis. Along with a lot of other misc. commentary on the world, and assorted personal opinions, political statements. But a conversation recently makes me seriously ponder this particular query.

A friend told me that he will put medications he no longer takes in a jar, set aside on a high shelf, and destroy the original container the Rx was dispensed in. For some reason he feels he should burn the bottles with labeling containing personal information. But he does not burn the pills. He was wondering what he could/should do with the medications. My first thought was to tell him our local law enforcement personnel will periodically advertise a day and specific location where/when they will accept un-used prescriptions to keep people from flushing them into the public utilities.

When I was talking about this to someone else about this, we discussed options for disposal. You could burn it, but that still releases the contents, maybe in an altered form, into the world, and creates carbon, as well as giving us all an opportunity to inhale some scare-y substances, or contamination from ash. I remember when my dad died, the hospice nurse immediately poured all his medications into the toilet to 'waste' the pharmaceuticals. Which puts all sorts of risky stuff into the water, where it does not actually vanish, merely changing form to pollute the drinking water, and resources where reptiles and amphibians live.

So, here's the conundrum: out of sight, out of mind? You think you do the 'right thing' by giving the Rx to people who work in law enforcement. Keeping the controlled substance out of the hands of the miscreants, ne'r do wells, local criminal element. Good idea! But what happens to the drugs when you 'donate'? As in the opening quote from the bumper sticker. Where does it actually go?

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