The most recent issue in waste management is the pharmaceutical waste. Studies have shown that landfill leachates and processed wastewater contain pharmaceutical compounds. Although adverse effects on humans have not been documented, few such studies have been conducted. However, adverse effects have been shown to occur in aquatic and other wildlife exposed to pharmaceuticals such as estrogenic compounds and certain antidepressants. Environmental samples of bacteria have demonstrated antibiotic resistance. One of the major ways in which pharmaceuticals enter solid and liquid waste streams is through improper disposal of unused pharmaceuticals. It is beneficial to dispose of unused pharmaceuticals to prevent unintentional ingestion of medications that are no longer recommended for a patient’s treatment. Pharmaceuticals should not be used after their expiration dates. Illicit drug use can be reduced by removing unused abuse-prone medications from households.
Review the recommendations for proper disposal of pharmaceuticals provided by your state or local public health department or by a similar agency that you find by searching the Internet for terms such as “disposal of pharmaceuticals.” Read several abstracts of questionnaire studies of medication disposal practices by searching PubMed with a strategy such as “pharmaceutical AND disposal AND questionnaire.”
In your response, address the following:
- What aspects of the public health recommendations for household disposal of unused medications did you find surprising?
- What is the extent of awareness about public health recommendations for household disposal of unused medications? Base your response on personal experience as well as on the questionnaire research you located on PubMed.
- What do you recommend as next steps in improving your scientific understanding of this issue?
Support your answers with appropriate research and reasoning and initiate comments on the postings of at least two of your peers.
- Described the aspects of public health recommendations for household disposal of unused medications.
- Described the extent of awareness of these regulations.
- Suggested recommendations for next steps in improving understanding of the issue.
- Supported answers with appropriate research and reasoning and initiated comments on the postings of at least two peers.