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Letters: Ocean Pollution and Goodbyes

Chris Weeg

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The Blue Flamingo Thrift Store
(www.blueflamingo.org)

We open the Weekend America mailbag to hear your responses to recent stories. Weekend America's last episode is January 31, and listeners have been writing us to say goodbye. We hear from Stephanie Jacobson of Omaha, Neb., who works at a thrift store and community center called The Blue Flamingo. We also revisit our story on ocean pollution from earlier this month, which prompted questions from listeners about pharmaceutical pollution entering U.S. waterways. John Moe spoke with Dave Galvin, Hazardous Waste Program Manager for King County in Seattle, Wash. Galvin tells us more about proper and improper disposal methods for old medicines, and a medicine take-back pilot program he organizes where people can return old drugs to participating pharmacies for disposal.

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    Artist: Ratatat
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  • By Kevin Smith

    From BC, 07/22/2009

    No wonder they don't want to take medicines back and ask you to throw them down the toilet, so that nobody could use and had to buy them. Recently I've watched interesting documentary about pharmaceutics' prospective. I found one at torrents files search engine http://www.picktorrent.com . So, the prospective is pretty nice and very profitable!

    By Dave Galvin

    From Seattle, WA, 01/27/2009

    It is not surprising, although obviously frustrating, that most pharmacies are unable to take back left-over medicines at this time. It is illegal for them to do so for the subset of narcotic-related medicines known as controlled substances. Models are being tested for safe take-back at pharmacies, mail-back via secure mailers, even collection of controlled substance drugs at police and sheriff offices. Ideally a product stewardship model will emerge where those who make and sell the product will take back any left-overs as part of doing business, with the cost built into the cost of the product. Check your local waste management or public health agencies for the best current options. Help us work toward a better future where these drugs are not available for poisonings or abuse and are not ending up in the environment. In California, check out Teleosis Institute's green pharmacy program. Nationally, try the Product Stewardship Institute's pharmaceuticals project.

    Good luck to John Moe and the rest of the Weekend America crew.

    By Juliane Cormier

    From san diego, CA, 01/24/2009

    When I was moving last year and wanted to get rid of my old meds, I went to FOUR different pharmacies in town and asked how they discard old meds. ALL of them told me they throw them down the toilet! Not one had a recycling program, but all thought it was a good idea! I also called the city to see what (if any) program they had going - big old zilch. Wow, this is disgusting. They told me to crush all the meds into practically dust, so anyone going through the garbage wouldn't take them, seal them them tight and just throw them out. Isn't there a better way? Why can't be give the pharmaceutical companies an incentive ($$) to take back old drugs and dispose of them correctly? They are certainly making more money than ever on CREATING new drugs, why not do the right thing and DISPOSE of old/unused drugs as well??? and if they won't do it, what can I do in my community to start a recycle program?

    By Juliane Cormier

    From san diego, CA, 01/24/2009

    When I was moving last year and wanted to get rid of my old meds, I went to FOUR different pharmacies in town and asked how they discard old meds. ALL of them told me they throw them down the toilet! Not one had a recycling program, but all thought it was a good idea! I also called the city to see what (if any) program they had going - big old zilch. Wow, this is disgusting. They told me to crush all the meds into practically dust, so anyone going through the garbage wouldn't take them, seal them them tight and just throw them out. Isn't there a better way? Why can't be give the pharmaceutical companies an incentive ($$) to take back old drugs and dispose of them correctly? They are certainly making more money than ever on CREATING new drugs, why not do the right thing and DISPOSE of old/unused drugs as well??? and if they won't do it, what can I do in my community to start a recycle program?

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