CVS Wants to Help Cities Safely Dispose of Old Medications

by Alexis Petru
May 22, 2015 1:30 PM ET

Between 10 and 30 percent of all prescription and over-the-counter drugs sold are left unconsumed, according to a State of Washington report, and all those leftover medications pose significant risks to public health and the environment. Drugs that are flushed down the toilet or tossed in the trash can – rather than properly disposed of – can end up in oceans and waterways, threatening both marine life and human health. Meanwhile, many individuals don’t get rid of their unused medications at all; they simply store the drugs in their medicine cabinets – a practice that can lead to drug misuse and abuse.

CVS Health has decided it wants to do its part to stem the tide of prescription and over-the-counter medications filling up our medicine cabinets and clogging our waterways. In 2013, the retailer and health care company launched its CVS/pharmacy Medication Disposal for Safer Communities Program, a grant initiative in which the company distributes drug collection bins to police departments and municipalities, so they can set up environmentally responsible local drug disposal programs. These specialized drug disposal units meet federal requirements to collect and securely store prescription medications that are also considered “controlled substances” – drugs that have the potential for abuse or dependence and are highly regulated by law enforcement agencies.

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