Thursday, April 28, 2011

Safe Drug Disposal

On April 30th "Drug Take Back Day" will be in effect throughout the Pittsburgh region and across the nation. The Pennsylvania Resources Council (PRC) and Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield will sponsor an event at The Mall at Robinson to dispose of prescription drugs instead of flushing or throwing them away. David Mazza, Western Regional Director for the PRC says there is no limit to what prescriptions can be brought.

"Everything from pills ointments and creams. We are also accepting both controlled and non-controlled substances. So, when we talk about controlled substances we are talking about prescription pharmaceuticals things like Vicodin, Oxycontin, Demerol, so any of the narcotic-type prescription medications. All of those will be accepted."

He also notes that flushing medications is dangerous because the wastewater system is not meant to digest prescription compounds, meaning that they could end up in the water system. Also, throwing them in the trash can make it easier for the drugs to get into the wrong hands, or damage the environment by being in a land fill. Since prescription drug abuse is more of a recent epidemic, Mazza says that there is no safe way to dispose of medications other than attending semi-annual Drug Take Back event. From the event, dropped-off medications will safely be incinerated.

Mazza says that individuals can drive-through, but suggests blacking-out personal and doctor information on the label before dropping the medications off at the event.

Mazza says that there are 133 collection sites in Western Pennsylvania. To find a site near you, visit

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