A yellow container can now be found on the checkout counter for the pharmacy at Langdon Community Drug as the pharmacy works to make life easier for patients but also create a better environment.
Posted on 1/16/15
By Melissa Anderson
“We want to make it more convenient for patients to throw away the medication they are no longer using and to help protect the environment,” Lyle Lutman, head pharmacist and owner of Langdon Community Drug, said.
The Yellow Jug Old Drugs that the pharmacy is now participating in is a medication take-back program created by the Great Lakes Clean Water Organization in Michigan to collect and properly dispose of unwanted or unused drugs in a safe and approved manner. The program, which began in 2008, is now being used by pharmacies nationwide.
The effort originated to help keep the water systems of the Great Lakes area clean. Several studies conducted by both federal and state environmental agencies have found the presence of trace amounts of pharmaceutical compounds in surface and ground water.
Studies also found that municipal wastewater treatment plants are not designed to remove or process many compounds found in medications, and these compounds consequently end up being discharged into the surface and ground water.
Even if those who live in rural areas and do not use municipal treated water can cause damage when disposing of medication by flushing. The drinking water may be affected and many medications including antibiotics can destroy the beneficial bacteria necessary for a septic system to operate properly.
The process for Yellow Jug Old Drugs to become an accepted form of disposal for medication began last fall at meetings held by the North Dakota State Board of Pharmacy. After hearing from multiple stakeholders, the board decided to pursue a program that would provide pharmacies across North Dakota with an option to implement a take-back program. To make this program more accessible, the board will provide, free of charge for at least a year, the funding for participation in the take-back program for pharmacies.
For those who want to use the Yellow Jug Old Drugs program, all they have to do is bring in unused/unwanted/expired drugs to Langdon Community Drug during regular business hours for proper disposal.
Customers must place the prescription waste into the container directly. The medication cannot be handled by any of the staff in the pharmacy.
Prior to bringing in the medication waste, customers should remove personal information from the containers. Drugs should be removed from original containers/packaging before placing in jug (except transdermal patches). Vials and other packaging materials should be kept by the customer for proper recycling.
Both prescription and over-the-counter drugs are accepted – pills, ointments, liquids and creams. This service is free to patients to use as the cost is supported by Langdon Community Drug and the North Dakota State Board of Pharmacy.
Once the Yellow Jug Old Drugs containers are full, it and the contents are picked up at the pharmacy and transported to a Waste-to-Energy facility for secure and assured destruction.