Letter: Seek proper disposal of meds

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Maine is becoming increasingly aware of the dangers involved both in keeping unused medications in our medicine cabinets and in flushing them or putting them in the trash.

What to do? Call your legislators and ask them to adopt LD 821, “An Act to Support Collection and Proper Disposal of Unused Drugs.”

LD 821 would require pharmaceutical companies to finance and properly manage a safe collection and disposal program for unwanted, unneeded or expired medicines. PhRma, not surprisingly, opposes this bill; conversely, law enforcement and many environmentally conscious organizations strongly support LD 821.

Having to store unneeded medications in our medicine cabinets for lack of a proper disposal method can result in unintentional misuse and accidental poisoning, as well as risk of home invasion by those seeking controlled substances (e.g., OxyContin). It also provides easy access by those who perceive prescription drugs as safe and either use them or sell them to others.

Flushing them down the drain contaminates our water supplies, and DEP testing of water draining from some of Maine’s landfills (including Brunswick and Bath) found measurable levels of medication residue, so putting them in the trash is not the answer, either.

Enactment of LD 821 would alleviate these problems by providing a safe and convenient method of proper disposal of unused medications. The consequences of not passing this bill are immeasurable.

Connie Lewis