As part of a "Stop Throwing Out Pollutants" program, Newsday reports that the town of North Hempstead welcomed people to turn in old and expired drugs "from being abused or being improperly disposed of and ending up in drinking water or leaching into the ground." Over 400 pounds of medications like Tamiflu, Xanax, Vicodin, OxyContin, Ambien, methadone and veterinary drugs were collected; the police will inventory the drugs, incinerating some, while a private company will dispose of the others. The movement to more safely dispose of unneeded drugs has gained steam after a 2008 study where traces of drugs have been found in drinking water (many people flush drugs down the toilet, but the medications just pass through the wastewater treatment and into the drinking water supply!). Here's the White House Drug Policy on how to dispose of unwanted drugs (PDF) and a fun fact from the North Hempstead event: "The oldest medication was a vial of sleeping pills that had been prescribed in the pharmacy at Macy's Herald Square in 1966."
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