When people’s prescriptions change, their drugs expire or are no longer needed, these medicines are typically flushed or thrown away. A 2008 Associated Press investigation found pharmaceuticals in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans. In the course of a five-month inquiry, the AP discovered that drugs have been detected in the drinking water supplies of 24 major metropolitan areas.

Illinois-Indian Sea Grant has developed a series of toolkits and initiatives to help communities, schools and individuals develop and promote programs for safe disposal of unwanted medicine.

This Thursday, November 19, over 110 local waste managers and others are registered to take part in a one-day workshop on developing collection programs for unwanted medicines in Indianapolis. 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.

This is the third workshop on this topic that IISG has sponsored in Indianapolis in the past several years. This workshop is also sponsored by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, the Indiana Board of Pharmacy, the Indiana Pharmacists Alliance, the Indiana Household Hazardous Waste Task Force, and Eli Lilly.

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