HHW: Medications and Needles

Emptying the Medicine Cabinet


Click brochure to view.

Most of us likely have at least a few medications around the house to help with the occasional headache or cold. Some have need of medications to see them through their daily lives. Some need to give themselves or their loved ones injections.

What do we do with all these medications and needles when we don’t need them anymore, they expire, or have already been used (needles)?

This question is not just a concern for us humans, but also includes all of those medications and needles used when taking care of our pets and/or livestock. A big problem just got bigger.

Unfortunately, there is currently not an easy answer in Ionia County. The brochure to the left contains information about how you can safely dispose of your medical waste at home.

At some point we hope to be able to offer medical waste disposal through the Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Collection Program, but much needs to be worked out with the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency)at the state level first. It is a problem that county HHW programs and environmental agencies across the state are currently working on.

What’s the big deal anyway?

Don’t Flush! Improper disposal of medications can jeopardize our environment by getting into our ground and surface water systems, contaminating our drinking water and disrupting life cycles of many aquatic plants and animals.

Read on…

Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products as Environmental Pollutants. An EPA on-line resource.

Prescription for Clean Water, Upwellings, May 2008

Drugs Found in Michigan Drinking Water by Roselyn James April 16, Associated Content 2007

Don’t store indefinately! Hanging on to medications that have expired can lead to misuse.Teens have learned to explore their parents’ and grandparents’ medicine cabinets to get high. Teens are even having Pharm parties where they will dump a bunch of pills into a bowl and pop them like candy. As you can imagine, this is an extremely dangerous and potentially life-threatening way to “have fun”.

Read on…

DEA Get it Straight:Prevention Posse #1, “What’s up with prescription and over-the-counter drugs?” (written for teens)

Prescription for Danger: A Report on Prescription and Over-the-Counter Drug Abuse Among the Nation’s Teens, Office of Drug Control Policy 2008

National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse XIII: Teens and Parents, CASA 2008

Prescription drugs find a place in teen culture, by Donna Leinwand, USA TODAY, June 13, 2006

Community Drug Alert Bulletin: Prescription Drugs, National Institute on Drug Abuse, September 2005

The Point it… Needles Hurt!

Click the brochure to the left to view.

When needles are not properly disposed of, waste collection/disposal employees may be exposed to blood-born pathogens. They are not alone. improperly disposed of needles can also have a detrimental effect on children, pets, and other loved ones or strangers who have access to your trash, whether legally or illegally.

Read on…

Dangers of Used Sharps in Household Trash: Implications for Home Care, Home Healthcare Nurse, October 2007

Sanitation workers and discarded needles by Al Tompkins, March 29, 2004

Sharp Solutions for a Sticky Problem, Environmental Protection, April 1, 2003

See below for additional information about medical waste disposal options. Suggested links to not necessarily indicate any recommendation or endorsement by Ionia County or any of it’s representatives.

Mailback Programs (fees likely) Medications RxTakeAway™


Needles Sharps Disposal by Mail Systems®

BD™ Sharps Disposal By Mail


Posted in Uncategorized