|HARRISBURG, Pa. (Dec. 17) – An initiative by Gov. Tom Corbett to safely dispose of unused and expired prescription and over-the-counter medicine also will improve the health of fish, says the executive director of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC).
“Research shows that once prescription drugs and other medicines end up in our waterways, they are being absorbed by fish,” said PFBC Executive Director John Arway. “Low doses of these drugs can ultimately harm fish.”
“For example, we have seen a greater frequency of an intersex condition in smallmouth bass in the Susquehanna River, with males showing signs of eggs in their reproductive systems and having a protein in their systems that should only occur in females,” he said. “We have also found sores and lesions on fish, which may be due to the exposure of these fish to the unintended consequences of these drugs.”
“We have always been told to flush our expired medicines down the toilet or wash them down the drain, but our wastewater treatment plants aren’t designed to remove them before they get into a nearby stream,” added Arway. “The MedReturn program now provides us with a much better and safer disposal option.”
“We fully support the governor’s initiative and encourage all Pennsylvanians to properly dispose of their unused or expired medicines,” he said. “This improves overall water quality and in turn protects the health of our Commonwealth’s fisheries.”
On Monday, Gov. Corbett launched another piece of his Healthy Pennsylvania plan, a permanent statewide drug take-back program that will provide up to 250 secure medicine return boxes throughout Pennsylvania. The new MedReturn boxes, installed in 29 Pennsylvania counties, allow individuals to dispose of unused and expired prescription and over-the-counter medication safely and anonymously.
To find a MedReturn box in your area, click here for the list. For more information, also visit www.ddap.pa.gov.
Eric Levis, Press Secretary