The new law establishes a unified statewide drug take-back program that will reduce water pollution and medication misuse. Photo by e-Magine Art/Creative Commons

Yesterday Governor Cuomo signed into law the “Drug Take Back Act,” regulation that establishes a statewide program to provide safe, free, and easy disposal of unused medications. Chain pharmacies will be required to provide drug disposal options, while other authorized collectors (e.g. independent pharmacies, local law enforcement) could also participate.

Providing convenient drug disposal will help to reduce the practice of flushing unwanted medications down drains and toilets, and eliminate one source of waterway contamination.

Previous surveys of pharmaceuticals in the Hudson River Estuary, conducted by Riverkeeper, Cornell University, and the EPA, found more than 50 different compounds, with greater numbers found at or near municipal wastewater treatment plant outfalls.

Wastewater treatment and septic systems are not designed to remove these contaminants, resulting in pharmaceutical pollution in waters across the state.

Source: Riverkeeper