Medical Waste Disposal & Prevent Health Care Errors

Since my last post I decided that I needed to clean out my medicine cabinet.  If your cabinet is like mine there was expired medication in it.  What came to me was what how best to dispose of this stuff.  Should I toss it, flush it, or find out if there is someplace that takes it.

I started out with my pharmacy.  They do not take old medications back.  They suggested I contact my doctor or my local fire department.  The doctor and fire department do not take old medications.  Next was to hit the internet.

The site I found most useful was the Illinois EPA site.  Those not in Illinois should be able to find similar info via their State EPA site.

http://www.epa.state.il.us/land/hazardous-waste/household-haz-waste/index.html

I do agree with them that this is a complex issue.  Businesses, medical facilities and the like are regulated as to what they can and cannot do with waste material, including medical wastes.  However, the hazardous waste that a typical home-owner creates has no requirement on where or how it is to be disposed.  And, that is why these wastes are now getting into the water we drink and bath in.

Okay, that is a preachy as I am going to get.

The good thing is there are options beyond tossing the waste in the trash or down the drain.

Again check with your state, but here in Illinois there are a few places that will take some medical waste.  Do call them for hours and if there are any exceptions to what they will take.  In Illinois the site is: http://www.epa.state.il.us/land/hazardous-waste/household-haz-waste/pharmaceuticals-disposal.html

Do any of you have pets that need to take medication?  Any that need to take shots for something like diabetes?  What do you do with their extra medication or sharps?

Doing this research reminded me about a speech a fellow Toastmaster gave about a medical program designed to help people prevent errors in their own health care.  It is called SPEAKUP.

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