Green Rx

Dakota Pharmacy’s Drug Disposal Program

Doing our part to help keep pharmaceuticals out of North Dakota rivers, lakes, and drinking water, Dakota Pharmacy is offering free and safe disposal of unwanted medications. Our Green Rx program (modeled after the Teleosis Institute) sends returned medications to an incineration facility, where high temperatures break down chemicals and emissions are capped and treated. Both the EPA and World Health Organization recommend this method of disposal over flushing or throwing away unused medications. We also recycle the plastic bottles and caps. Please check below to find out which medications are accepted, and how to return them to Dakota Pharmacy.

How to Return Your Unwanted Medicines to Dakota Pharmacy

  1. Gather your unwanted medications and other approved items.
  2. Keep them in their original containers (mark out any personal information if you wish, but do not mark out the name of the medicine!).
  3. Fill out the Medicine Return Form, at home or Dakota Pharmacy.
  4. Bring the medications to Dakota Pharmacy.
  5. Give completed form and medicines to Dakota Pharmacy staff.

           YES: Items Accepted

  • Prescription medications (except controlled**)
  • All over-the-counter medications
  • Medication samples
  • Vitamins and supplements
  • Medicated ointments, lotions, creams, and oils
  • Liquid medication in leak-proof containers
  • Homeopathic Remedies
  • Pet medications
  • Suppositories
  • Needles and Sharps *
  • Syringes with needles *

             NO: Items Not Accepted

  • Controlled prescriptions ** (e.g. narcotics, vicodin, ritalin, codeine, oxycodone, valium, etc.)
  • IV bags
  • Bloody or infectious waste
  • Personal care products
  • Empty containers
  • Thermometers
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Aerosol cans
  • Inhalers
  • No pharmaceutical waste from any other source besides households (i.e. clinics, pharmacies, hospitals)

(Special credit & thank you to the Teleosis Institute as the source of much of this information)
 

* Needles and Sharps will be accepted in hard plastic sharps container only for a $5 fee.
**Home disposal instructions are detailed at the Smart Rx Disposal site for the controlled drugs listed below:
  • Daytrana Transdermal Patch (methylphenidate)
  • Duragesic Transdermal System (fentanyl)
  • OxyContin Tablets (oxycodone)
  • Avinza Capsules (morphine sulfate)
  • Baraclude Tablets (entecavir)
  • Reyataz Capsules (atazanavir sulfate)
  • Tequin Tablets (gatifloxacin)
  • Zerit for Oral Solution (stavudine)
  • Meperidine HCl Tablets
  • Percocet (Oxycodone and Acetaminophen)
  • Xyrem (Sodium Oxybate)
  • Fentora (fentanyl buccal tablet)
  • Actiq (fentanyl citrate)

Note: Patients should always refer to printed material accompanying their medication for specific instructions.

An Associated Press article in the spring of 2008 reported on a five-month inquiry into the drinking water of 62 metropolitan areas and 51 smaller cities. They found that the drinking water of at least 24 American cities contains trace amounts of a wide array of pharmaceuticals and their byproducts. These include antibiotics, heart medications, psychiatric drugs, hormones such as those in birth control pills and others.

One source of this contamination results from pharmaceuticals being flushed down toilets and sinks as a method of disposal.

Municipal drinking-water supplies are regulated extensively by the Environmental Protection Agency, which sets limits on certain contaminants, but there are no federal regulations handed down that include pharmaceuticals. The 24 cities that detected pharmaceuticals through voluntary testing efforts are under no obligation to report them or treat for them. About half the utilities surveyed do not normally test for pharmaceuticals.

Environmentalists have been watching the feminization of fish increase and hypothesize the presence of hormones flushed into watersheds as a possible explanation. This is not a new phenomenon. In fact, it’s only one reason why flushing meds is a no-no.
Other reasons to properly dispose of pharmaceuticals include:

  • Diversion—Prescription medication abuse and/or theft are becoming more frequent, sometimes with fatal consequences; getting it out of the medicine cabinet is the first step in prevention. An estimated 22,000 Americans died last year alone from accidental overdoses, second only to motor vehicle accidents. More people died of accidental overdoses in New York last year than from murder. Yet our government spends not a single federal penny on overdose prevention!
  • Treatment Interference—Antibiotics can wreak havoc on your septic tank, resulting in untreated sewage passing into our natural water outlets
  • Expired pills—Pharmaceuticals have a shelf-life like most products; taking expired meds can be dangerous

 

According to research done by the Kaiser Family Foundation in 2006, the average number of prescriptions for each person increased from 7.9 in 1994 to 12.5 in 2005. Many older or chronically ill Americans have many more. Often, after the death of a parent or loved one, surviving family members are left with large amounts of powerful and potentially dangerous narcotics.