by Lorien Nettleton ~ April 27th, 2012
There are all the familiar reasons for disposing of unused medications. Accidentally taking the wrong pharmaceutical, or even deliberately taking meds intended for someone else is a hazard to individual safety. But, according to the Mat Su Borough’s program manager Ali Little, even improperly disposing meds can put large groups of people at risk.
The vast majority of antibiotics that find their way in to groundwater get there from agricultural sources. The problem had so disturbed New York Representative Louise Slaughter that in 2011 she introduced the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act. Slaughter is the US legislature’s only microbiologist, and the text of her bill cited the dangers of creating antibiotic-resistant super-bugs due to the overuse of antibiotics in livestock. In 2009, 29-million pounds of antibiotics were administered to livestock, and much of that is passed through the animals through manure and then saturates the ground, Slaughter said. Here in the Mat Su, Ali Little sees the chance for improperly disposed of medications as having a similar consequence.
This weekend the Borough will conduct it’s 5th Take Back the Meds event, and anyone encouraged to drop off their expired or unused pharmaceuticals at Sunshine Clinic from 10 to 2 on saturday. The drugs will be incinerated in Anchorage.