Recently journalist Elizabeth Grossman wrote about a troubling trend of pharmaceuticals being found pretty much everywhere scientists look in our environment, especially in our water. Potential impacts are concerning, Grossman writes, with among other things, “fish and birds responding with altered behavior and reproductive systems to antidepressants, diabetes medication, and other psychoactive or hormonally active drugs at concentrations found in the environment.”

While about 90 percent of these pharmaceuticals turn up in the environment after being excreted, at least some show up when medication is improperly discarded. In an effort “to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs,” the U.S. Department of Justice and Drug Enforcement Administration are holding their annual National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day Saturday, September 26, 2015.

In addition to the environmental benefits of properly disposing of unused medications, Environmental News Bits points out that misuse of prescription drugs is a big public health crisis, noting, “In 2010, 22,134 people died from overdoses involving prescription drugs. Additionally, in 2012, 69 percent of people who abused prescription pain relievers obtained the prescription drugs through friends or relatives, or from raiding the family medicine cabinet.” View Ensia homepage

Photo by Ajay Suresh (Flickr | Creative Commons)