Due to advances in medical technology, more people are using medication to maintain their health and vitality, but for many reasons, entire prescriptions are not always entirely consumed.

Because their disposal is becoming an environmental, public safety, and criminal concern, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) and other organizations are facilitating a free, unwanted medicines workshop from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2009, at the IUPUI Campus Center in Indianapolis. Registration deadline is Nov. 12, 2009.

“Public health, natural resource and environmental experts have determined that flushing unwanted medicines is no longer an acceptable practice,” said IDEM Commissioner Thomas Easterly. “Many medicines pass through wastewater treatment facilities and septic systems, ending up in streams, lakes and groundwater. We want to help educate collection sites about how to properly dispose of the pharmaceuticals.”

This workshop will provide information and tools for community unwanted medicine collection programs, as well as for pharmacies and medical facilities to safely manage unwanted medicines. Presenters will focus on alternatives to flushing, including best practices from solid waste facilities in Indiana and surrounding states.

Topics to be discussed include: why unwanted medicine disposal is a problem, wastewater treatment issues, unwanted medication handling and disposal, and an update on legislation regarding unwanted medicine collection and disposal.

In addition to IDEM, sponsors include: Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant Program, Indiana Board of Pharmacy, Indiana Household Hazardous Waste Task Force, Indiana Pharmacists Alliance and Eli Lilly.

For more information, contact IDEM’s Office of Pollution Prevention and Technical Assistance at 1-800-988-7901, e-mail: kbrier@idem.in.gov or sboggs@idem.in.gov, or visit the IDEM web site.

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