ATLANTA, GA – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) have joined forces to help protect our nation’s fish and aquatic resources from improper disposal of medication. Officials from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) signed a formal agreement today outlining how they will work cooperatively to build consumer awareness of the hazards posed by the improper disposal of unused and expired medications into the nation’s waterways. As part of the effort – dubbed “SMARxT DISPOSAL” – the USFWS and the APhA will work to publicize the potential environmental and health impacts of unused medications when they are flushed into our nation’s sewer systems.
“Medications that are flushed down the toilet or thrown straight into the garbage can and do find their way into our nation’s waterways every day. Those drugs are present in water that supports many species of fish and other wildlife,” said Sam D. Hamilton, Southeastern Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “We are concerned about reports of fish abnormalities possibly caused by improperly disposed prescription medications. That’s why we are excited about this new partnership with the Association and its ability to educate the public about simple things they can do to clean up our waters and help prevent fish, and people, from inadvertent exposure to prescription medication.”
This new initiative was unveiled at APhA’s annual meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, one of the largest gatherings of pharmacy professionals and health services providers in the country.
“Medications play a vital role in our society,” added Dr. John A. Gans, Executive Vice President and CEO of APhA. “Consumers – and pharmacists – should be aware that it is important to take that extra step to protect our families and our natural resources, including our many waterways, fish and other aquatic organisms.”
The consumer outreach campaign will feature educational brochures and a website with information for both consumers and medical professionals. There will also be promotional events held in several cities across the country designed to generate greater awareness of the importance of proper medication disposal and the harmful effects it can have on the environment and public health. The initiative will begin with a pilot program in selected U.S. markets later this year and expanded in 2008.
APhA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service say just three small steps can make a huge difference:
More photos -- http://www.fws.gov/southeast/news/2007/SMARxT-Disposal
Following these simple steps can help protect your family and community, minimize a potential negative impact on the environment, and prevent the illegal diversion of unused medications.
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About The American Pharmacists Association
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