Health Department urges proper disposal of medications

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(Host) Vermont’s Health Department warns that old, out-of-date prescription and over-the-counter medicines can still be lethal.

As VPR’s Ross Sneyd reports, the state is urging people to clean out their medicine cabinets – but to be careful about throwing the old stuff out.

(Sneyd) Deputy Health Commissioner Barbara Cimaglio says Vermonters should get rid of old medicines before they become a problem.

(Cimaglio) “If medications are left sitting in a medicine chest, they might find their way into the hands of young people who are looking for substances they might take to get high.”

(Sneyd) Poison control specialists around the country say more and more young people have gotten sick after taking unused medications.

So Vermont decided to try to deal with the issue before it becomes a problem. But disposal alone doesn’t completely address it.

Cimaglio says the medicines contain chemicals that could pollute rivers and streams.

And there’ve been instances where criminals have found old medicines in trash and resold them.

So the Health Department says to take the old stuff out of its original container, mix it with something “undesirable” – like cat litter or coffee grounds. And then put the whole mixture into a sealed plastic bag and throw it out.

For VPR News, I’m Ross Sneyd. 

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