[Pharmwaste] Trash disposal is bad advice!

Ed Gottlieb EGottlieb at cityofithaca.org
Thu Aug 3 14:33:50 EDT 2017

I was totally shocked to hear Dr. Natalie Azar promote trash disposal for unwanted medications, especially opioids.  Starting at 3:23; http://www.today.com/video/are-you-taking-more-medication-than-you-need-to-here-s-how-to-find-out-1016325187621

The FDA, EPA, DEA, and most other federal and state agencies that deal with medication or environmental issues, recommend take-back programs as the preferred disposal method for unwanted household medications.  Just yesterday, Chuck Rosenberg, the acting administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, again emphasized the importance of take-back in an interview; http://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2017/08/02/chuck-rosenberg-dea-opioids

Trash disposal, however it is done (mixed with used kitty litter, coffee grounds, etc.), does little to prevent illegal diversion, accidental overdose, or environmental contamination.  It is considered a last resort option by all stakeholders, except for PhARMA and disposal product manufactures.

PhARMA does not want to pay for the collection and safe disposal of their leftover products and has strenuously lobbied against the creation of local and state laws that hold them accountable.  They also have spent large sums of money promoting trash disposal.

The Today Show should promptly, and prominently, correct the disposal misinformation presented in Today's broadcast.  Can you please let me know how you will address this?  Thank you.

If you have any questions regarding trash disposal, take-back, or product stewardship laws, don't hesitate to ask.  If I don't have an answer, I can probably put you in touch with someone who does.


Ed Gottlieb
Chair, Coalition for Safe Medication Disposal
Board Member, New York Product Stewardship Council
Industrial Pretreatment Coordinator
Ithaca Area Wastewater Treatment Facility
525 3rd Street
Ithaca, NY  14850
(607) 273-8381
fax: (607) 273-8433
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