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Do Your Part


An easy way to get rid of old medicines

By Terri Bennett
Terri Bennett
Terri Bennett has been providing weather forecasts in the Charlotte area for more than 16 years. In September 2007, she launched to serve as the single source of Terri's knowledge and expertise. She is also promoting green technology in her 'Do Your Part' campaign.

If you’re anything like me, you probably have a few old prescriptions that have been hanging around for years. Those plastic bottles may contain the last antibiotic from a bout of strep throat or a medication you never even used.

It’s a bad idea to toss these in the trash or to flush them down a drain because they can contaminate our water supply and cause untold environmental and health problems.

Now there’s a simple way to get rid of all your old medicines in a responsible way. The annual Prescription Drug Take Back Day, held by the Drug Enforcement Administration, takes place Saturday. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in multiple locations, you can drop off your old medications.

The DEA makes it easy for you to find those drop-off locations on their website. I typed in my ZIP code and seven locations popped up, all within a few miles from my home. (Check out for a link.)

The DEA points out that unused prescriptions are often stolen, misused, or the cause of accidental poisonings and overdoses at home. And of course, these drugs can also damage ecosystems if disposed of incorrectly.

If the national take-back day isn’t convenient for you, there are other options. You can buy a postage-paid envelope to responsibly dispose of many prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs. The Take Away Environmental Return System ( is available through many national retailers – especially pharmacies and online.

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