Thursday, September 16, 2010

Just Say No to Pharm Parties

Posted By on 09.16.10 at 04:20 PM

got_drugs.jpg
The Drug Enforcement Administration is having a pharm party on September 25, and you and your expired drugs are invited! If you've never heard of this type of party before, it's when people—usually teens—run to the nearest medicine cabinet, collect all the drugs, dump them into a party bowl (usually ceramic), and take a handful of the mixed-up drugs. The bowl seems to be the deciding factor that makes a "pharma party" more special than a regular ol' drug-taking situation, which might be why some people—including Jack Shafer of Slate—wonder if they're just a "media invention."

The DEA will forgo the "everybody take all the drugs now" portion of the standard pharma party, opting to dispose of the collected drugs by other means.

I learned about the DEA event—part of the agency's "National Take-Back Initiative"—from an invite e-mailed by Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Commissioner Debra Shore, who is concerned about the impact of unused medicines on our water streams:

When people don't have a safe, secure, disposal option, they will often flush medicine down the toilet—which is becoming a threat to fish and other aquatic life. Endocrine disruptors from birth control pills, Viagra, and other hormone treatments have been shown to cause feminization of fish in both laboratory experiments and natural environments. This is a cause for concern—hence the growing efforts to provide a safe, secure way for people to dispose of their medicines, both prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

People who care about the environment and don't have teenage children to conveniently dispose of their extra pharmaceuticals can take their drugs to the MWRD's Calumet (400 E. 130th) or Stickney Plant (6001 W. Pershing, in Cicero). Many Chicago Police Department stations will also take your drugs, as this handy DEA page will show if you plug in your zip code.

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