Indiana American Water Helps Protect Hoosiers Against the Dangers of Improper Prescription Drug Disposal

GREENWOOD, Ind. (April 24, 2019) –Indiana American Water is joining forces with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency for National Prescription Drug Take Back Day to encourage Indiana residents to clean out their medicine cabinets and turn in unused or expired medications safely and anonymously at local collection sites this Saturday, April 27 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For those who can’t participate, the awareness campaign also includes information on how to properly dispose of these items at home.

“Far too often, unused prescription drugs find their way into the wrong hands and into our precious water sources, potentially harming the environment or friends and family members,” said Indiana American Water President Matthew Prine. “According to the DEA, more than 6 million Americans misused controlled prescription drugs in 2017, with a majority of the drugs coming from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet.”

Indiana American Water advises that usual methods for disposing of unused medicines—flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash as is—are ineffective and actually quite dangerous since doing so can pose potential safety and health hazards, such as diversion, misuse and abuse.

If you are unable to make it to a collection site on April 27—which is the preferred disposal method—you can properly dispose of controlled substances at home by following these steps from the Food & Drug Administration:

  • Take the medication out of its original container(s).
  • Mix the medication with an undesirable substance, such as used coffee grounds, cat litter or vegetable oil.
  • Put the mixture in a disposable container with a lid, such as a milk carton, margarine tub or sealable bag.
  • Conceal personal information on the drug container, including Rx number, by using a permanent marker or duct tape, or by scratching it off.
  • Place the sealed container with the mixture and the empty drug containers in the trash.

“At Indiana American Water, safety and water quality are our top priorities,” added Prine. “While the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets water quality standards intended to protect public health, it currently does not require water utilities to monitor for pharmaceuticals in water, nor have they set treatment standards for these substances in water.

“Not only do we treat and deliver water that consistently meets or exceeds all drinking water standards, but research studies have shown that the treatment processes used by Indiana American Water can be effective for the removal of many pharmaceutical compounds.”

Indiana American Water also maintains a comprehensive environmental policy that includes responsible business practices, compliance with environmental laws and regulations, effective use of natural resources and stewardship of biodiversity.

“Though we at Indiana American Water will continue to voluntarily participate in consumer programs such as this, surface water and groundwater protection programs to source water quality and support legislation for proper drug disposal, we can’t solve this problem alone, so the public’s participation is ever so important,” said Prine.

For more information on Indiana American Water, visit www.indianaamwater.com. . For more information on National Prescription Drug Take Back Day and to locate local drop-off sites, visit https://takebackday.dea.gov.  Year-round collection sites are also available. To search for the location nearest you, visit: https://apps.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/pubdispsearch/spring/main?execution=e1s1.

About Indiana American Water

Indiana American Water, a subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to approximately 1.3 million people. With a history dating back to 1886, American Water is the largest and most geographically diverse U.S. publicly traded water and wastewater utility company. The company employs more than 7,100 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and market-based drinking water, wastewater and other related services to more than 14 million people in 46 states and Ontario, Canada. American Water provides safe, clean, affordable and reliable water services to our customers to make sure we keep their lives flowing. For more information, visit amwater.com and follow American Water on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.