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Medicine Take-Back Program (Completed)
Background: Pharmaceutical chemicals have been documented in rivers, lakes, groundwater, soil, and treated drinking water across the country.
The University of Illinois Medicine Take-Back Program is a part of the larger Champaign-Urbana Area Medicine Take-Back Program. The program provides a legal and sustainable way to dispose of medicine, which helps to prevent accidental poisoning of children, the elderly, and pets; reduce drug abuse, misuse, and diversion; and limit the amount of pharmaceutical chemicals entering the environment.
Pharmaceutical chemicals have been documented in rivers, lakes, coastal waters, groundwater, soil, and treated drinking water across the county. This is harmful to the aquatic life in these areas, and could cause potentially long-term, harmful effects on humans. The cause of the presence of pharmaceutical chemicals in these bodies of water is largely attributed to the flushing of expired or unwanted medication, which used to be the preferred method of disposal for such substances. Wastewater treatment facilities and septic systems are not designed to remove such chemicals from the water they treat. Landfill disposal of such materials is only somewhat less harmful, since landfill leachate is often pumped into wastewater facilities for treatment. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) encourages medicine take-back programs and incineration of collected medications as hazardous waste.