I’ve been waiting for this blog topic to roll around since August when I saw a story on antidepressant-laden fish in the news. A recent study reported the prevalence of antidepressants in the brain, muscles and other organs of 10 species of fish in the Niagara River. Incredibly sad, yes, and hopefully, many will be moved to do their part in preventing drugs and other harmful elements enter our water systems.
Perhaps a good first step for many is to take part in the next National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, which is on October 28. Twice a year, thousands of law enforcement professionals and other community partners implement a program by which people can turn in unused, expired, or unwanted drugs, and properly dispose of them without compromising environmental health.
Last spring’s Drug Take Back Day resulted in 450 tons of drugs collected nationally. Can you imagine if 450 tons of prescriptions made their way into our nation’s water systems? That’s what happens when you flush drugs down the toilet or sink and putting them in the trash is not a safe option as they will eventually degrade in the landfill and may seep into water channels.
On the positive side, scientists and engineers, including those at American Water, are making advances in wastewater treatment to help combat problems stemming from the growing use of prescription drugs.
Still, the best defense is to keep drugs out of the water system by taking advantage of Drug Take Back Day. It’s always a great thing when an initiative like this advances multiple missions. I encourage you to find an October 28 drug collection site near you to help make this a win-win-win for public safety, your own family’s health and our water resources.