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Health Minute: Proper Medication Disposal

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WPSU’s Health Minute is a collaboration with Penn State’s Ross and Carole Nese College of Nursing.

Medications flushed down a toilet or poured down a drain can contaminate our drinking water and waterways. Wastewater treatment centers are designed to remove solid waste, bacteria, and other organisms, but many are not designed to remove chemical compounds, like medications. Contaminated lakes and streams affect wildlife that not only live in the water but on the land, some of which are our food supply.

To properly dispose of unwanted or expired medications use a Drug Enforcement Administration-sponsored “Take Back” site. These sites accept both prescription and over-the-counter medications and dispose of medications in a safe and environmentally responsible way. To find a "Take-Back" location near you, visit the DEA's webpage about drug disposal.

For all our episodes visit wpsu.org/healthminute.

Emily Reddy is the news director at WPSU-FM, the NPR-affiliate public radio station for central and northern Pennsylvania.