Don’t Let Your Best Intentions Go Down the Drain

I have a question for you: When was the last time you cleaned out your medicine cabinet? Better yet, what did you do with the unused, unwanted and expired prescriptions you found? Did you flush them down the toilet? Wash them down the sink?

The truth is, many people do this—far too often—because they aren’t aware that it impacts our country’s precious water resources. That’s why I’d like you to know about a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) initiative that American Water is proud to be part of: National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.

On Saturday, April 27, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., we’re joining the DEA in encouraging thousands of people nationwide to clean out their medicine cabinets and, safely and anonymously, turn in their unused or unwanted prescription drugs to local collection sites, including some at your local American Water offices! At these sites, the drugs will be properly disposed of, in order to help preserve our water supply. Click here to locate the site closest to you.

If you can’t make it to a site on April 27, there is a safe drug disposal alternative, suggested by the US Food & Drug Administration, that you can use—any day of the year. And it’s one you can do in just five easy steps:

  1. Remove the medications from their containers.
  2. Mix the meds with a substance like coffee grounds, cat litter or vegetable oil.
  3. Place the mixture in a milk carton, sealable bag or container with a lid.
  4. Conceal the label information—including the Rx number—by crossing or scratching it out with a marker or placing tape over it.
  5. Place the sealed mixture and empty prescription containers in the trash.

Waste, as well as agricultural chemicals and fertilizer runoff, are already a major concern for our nation’s water supplies. By removing other harmful substances, like prescription medications, from the equation, you can do the right thing by helping us reduce additional contamination.

We’ve said it before and we will say it again: The easiest way to produce safe drinking water is to start with clean source water. And we can’t do it alone. But with your help, we can do more to preserve and protect the quality of our water resources, and the better off our planet and our communities will be.