Isabel Sterne via Hopes&Fears:
The issues caused by the improper release of pharmaceuticals sound like something out of a sci-fi story: feminized flounder found in New York City’s Jamaica Bay, low levels of pharmaceuticals detected in the drinking water supply of 41 million Americans, pharmaceutical waste runoff causing shrimp to commit suicide—the list goes on and on. Hopes&Fears spoke to Brian Smith of Citizens Campaign for the Environment and Josh Frank of New York’s Department of Sanitation Environmental Police Unit on how to handle medications you no longer need.
Americans are buying more pills than they can swallow. With demand for pharmaceuticals growing every year—the U.S. spent a record $374 billion on prescription drugs alone in 2014—access to proper pharmaceutical disposal is becoming more important than ever. An estimated 250 million pounds of pharmaceutical waste is generated by American hospitals and long-term care homes each year. Add this to approximately one-third of medications sold that go unused by consumers, plus the millions of pounds of pharmaceutical waste produced by pharmacies, prisons, mental health facilities, farms and veterinary clinics each year, and we have a major disposal problem on our hands.