Recycling prescription drugs in Ohio

A New York Times article that appeared in the Sunday, October 11 Plain Dealer included this interesting paragraph:

In some states, prescriptions for noncontrolled substances — those with vastly lower risks for misuse and addiction — are collected and redistributed to those in need. Social services officials in Tulsa, Okla., have about 20 retired doctors who retrieve surplus prescription drugs from dozens of area long-term-care facilities and take them to a pharmacy where they are checked, sorted and donated to low-income residents.

What a wonderful idea, I thought. And why don’t we do that in Ohio?

So I mounted my high horse and wrote four hundred indignant words challenging Ohio to emulate Oklahoma and develop such a program.

Then, just to be safe, I googled “donate unused prescription drugs Ohio,.” and am I ever glad I did. I saved myself one big embarrassment, because Ohio authorized such a program in 2003.

The program authorizes the donation of prescription drugs by only a pharmacy, drug manufacturer, health care facility, or government entity, not by individuals. And the drugs may be dispensed (not sold) by a pharmacy, hospital, or nonprofit clinic to eligible individuals only.

Want to learn more?

  • For general information about the drug repository program, see this page on the Ohio Health Care Association website.
  • For legal specifications for the program, see Section 3715.87 of the Ohio Revised Code.
  • For a history of drug repository programs in Ohio and other states, see this page on the National Conference of State Legislatures website.

When my doctor takes me off a prescription, I’m still stuck with the leftovers, but now I don’t feel so bad about it. I understand why I can’t donate them — once the drug leaves the pharmacy, it’s lost its integrity. So I take them to one of our local Lake County drug drop-off sites. (Cuyahoga County has a similar program: see Disposal of Medicine & Needles on the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District’s website.)

Recycling prescription medications: a Zero Waste program that works for Ohio

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Recycle drugs safely: National Drug Take-Back Day, Saturday, September 29

Once again, Cleveland-area governments are joining with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Drug Take-Back Initiative (NTBI), offering a safe, convenient way to get rid of unwanted and expired prescription drugs. Local residents can take their leftover pills, liquids, syringes, inhalers and other medicines to a nearby collection site, where they will be accepted and disposed of, no questions asked.

Be safe: take your discarded drugs to a National Take-Back Initiative collection site. (Photo credit: U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration)

Prescription drugs are an especially dangerous type of hazardous waste. They’re difficult to dispose of and dangerous to keep around the house.

  • If discovered by children and pets, they can be poisonous, and the results can be fatal.
  • If flushed into the sewer system, they contaminate the water supply, giving your neighbors unsuspected doses of narcotics, hormones, antibiotics and steroids.
  • If tossed into the trash, they may end up in the hands of scavengers who will resell them.
  • If they make it into the landfill, they’ll become toxic waste that contaminates soil and groundwater.

In cooperation with the drug take-back initiative, local communities have established collection sites throughout the region. (The DEA continues to add collection sites, so if you don’t find a convenient site in the lists that follow, check the NTBI search page.)

To view a map of a collection site, click on the site’s address.

Cuyahoga County/Cleveland East Side

Cuyahoga County/Cleveland West Side

Cuyahoga County/Suburban

Geauga County

Lake County

On the most recent National Drug Take-Back Day, April 28, 2012, participants turned in a record-breaking 276 tons of unwanted or expired medications for safe and proper disposal at more than 5,500 take-back sites in all 50 states and U.S. territories. In the four Take-Back Days to date, the DEA and its state, local, and tribal law-enforcement and community partners have removed over 1.5 million pounds — 774 tons — of medication from circulation.

For more information about the National Drug Take-Back Initiative, see the U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration website. A complete list of collection sites nationwide is available through the NTBI search page.

Unused drugs are hazardous waste: keep them out of the wrong hands … keep them out of our water … keep them out of the landfill.

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, Saturday, April 28: get rid of expired drugs — safely, no questions asked

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration logo

Be safe: take your discarded drugs to a National Take-Back Initiative collection site.
Photo credit: U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration

On Saturday, April 28, Cleveland-area governments are offering their communities a safe, convenient way to get rid of unwanted and expired prescription drugs. Local residents can take their leftover pills, liquids, syringes, inhalers and other medicines to a nearby collection site, where they will be accepted and disposed of, no questions asked.

Prescription drugs are an especially dangerous type of hazardous waste. They’re difficult to dispose of and dangerous to keep around the house.

  • If discovered by children and pets, they can be poisonous, and the results can be fatal.
  • If flushed into the sewer system, they contaminate the water supply, giving your neighbors unsuspected doses of narcotics, hormones, antibiotics and steroids.
  • If tossed into the trash, they may end up in the hands of scavengers who will resell them, or they will end up in the landfill as toxic waste that contaminates groundwater.

In cooperation with the Drug Enforcement Agency’s National Take Back Initiative (NTBI), local communities have established collection sites throughout the region. (The DEA continues to add collection sites, so if you don’t find a convenient site in the lists that follow, check the NTBI search page.)

To view a map of a collection site, click on the site’s address.

Ashtabula County

Cuyahoga County/Cleveland East Side

Cuyahoga County/Cleveland West Side

Cuyahoga County/Suburban

Geauga County

Lake County

For more information about the National Take-Back Initiative, see the U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration website. A complete list of collection sites nationwide is available through the NTBI search page.

Unused drugs are hazardous waste: keep them out of the wrong hands … keep them out of our water … keep them out of the landfill.