News: Proper disposal of medicine key
OKINAWA, Japan - Frequently, unused or expired medication ends up in the toilet or trash can. What people do not realize is that improper disposal of medicine can be harmful to individual and environmental health.
The staff of the U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa at Camp Lester hosted the first Okinawa medication take back day at the exchange and commissary at Camp Foster July 28.
Service members with the hospital promoted the safe disposal of expired, unwanted or unused medicine from people’s homes, according to Navy Capt. Thinh V. Ha, the officer in charge of the hospital’s pharmacy department.
Proper disposal reduces the possibility of misuse or unintentional harm to the environment, according to Ha.
“It is unsafe to flush medication down the toilet, throw it in the trash, or keep it around the house,” said Navy Lt. Giao Phung, a primary planner and organizer at the hospital, currently on temporary assigned duty from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.
“The improper disposal of medication can cause a chain reaction in which trace amounts of drugs get into a water source, jeopardizing the environment and endangering (people’s) health,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Ashton L. Rudolf, a hospital corpsman with the hospital’s pharmacy department.
Municipal sewage and water treatment facilities cannot eliminate all the pharmaceutical contamination medicine causes when flushed down the toilet.
“Improper disposal (of pharmaceuticals) can pollute the air, water and soil,” said Huan V. Nguyen, the environmental program manager at the hospital. “Especially being on an island, Okinawa has a vast number of plants and water (life) pollution can affect.”
Medication plays a significant role in treating diseases and conditions, but when it is no longer needed, it is important to dispose of it properly, according to Nguyen.
“Based on the turnout of our first-ever take back day on Okinawa, we will be holding additional events in the future,” said Ha. “We will provide people a proper disposal point for unused, unwanted or expired medications for the safety of (all on Okinawa) and the environment.”
Date Posted:08.09.2012 20:18
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