Today, poisonings exceed motor vehicle accidents as the leading cause of unintentional death in the U.S., and the great majority of poisonings are related to the use and abuse of pharmaceutical products. Most prescription and over-the-counter medications are stored in the home long after they have expired, creating stockpiles of easily accessible drugs that contribute to fatal drug abuse overdoses and accidental poisonings. In fact, 7 out of 10 prescription pain relief abusers get their drugs from family and friends, and every 14 minutes, an American dies from a drug overdose. Medicine that is discarded in trash cans, too, often becomes supply for desperate drug abusers who search for unused medication in household waste.
To reduce the potential for abuse and accidental poisoning, these drugs should be removed from the home and disposed of properly. Unfortunately, flushing meds down the toilet is not a safe solution, as this can allow pharmaceutical compounds to enter waterways and contaminate our drinking water supply. Waste water treatment plants, which handle water that is flushed down toilets and drains (as well as landfill leachate), are not designed to filter out drugs.
To help mitigate these risks, Covanta Energy developed the Prescription for Safety Program (Rx4Safety) in 2010. This program provides free disposal of medications collected at drug take-back programs for any community in the U.S. Covanta's Energy-from-Waste (EfW) facilities destroy the drugs safely and responsibly, protecting water resources and reducing the risk of drugs reaching unauthorized users. Since the launch of the Rx4Safety program, Covanta has destroyed over one million pounds of drugs. More important, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), responding to the Safe and Secure Drug Disposal Act of 2010, has proposed regulations to make it easier for consumers to return drugs for safe disposal.
This webinar will explore the health, safety, and environmental issues of pharmaceutical waste disposal; Energy-from-Waste drug destruction; and the potential impacts of the highly anticipated rule from the DEA governing how pharmaceuticals may be collected.
This Webinar is sponsored by Covanta Energy as part of its 'A Million Thanks' campaign, which recognizes the contributions of those who enabled the destruction of one million pounds of drugs, and all of those seeking to reduce drug abuse and improper disposal of pharmaceuticals.
California Product Stewardship Council
King County Local Hazardous Waste Management Program
John G. Waffenschmidt
R. Darrell Weaver
Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control
Chief Executive Officer
Product Stewardship Institute