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Keeping unused or expired medications in your medicine cabinet can lead to misuse or accidental ingestion. The newest option for the disposal of unused and expired medications are medication disposal bags. While Berks County has 29 Medication Drop Boxes available county-wide, people who are home-bound or elderly may have difficulty accessing those boxes. Through the collaborative efforts of SOS Berks Opioid Coalition, the Berks County Area Agency on Aging, and the Council on Chemical Abuse, a network of organizations have been distributing the Deterra® medication disposal bags to individuals unable to access the medication drop boxes.
Each bag contains a small pouch of a carbon compound. Unwanted medications are placed in the bag and warm water is added. The water works to dissolve an inner pod, releasing the activated carbon within. This disposal process works on pills, patches and liquids, allowing them to be absorbed by the carbon and rendering them inert and non-retrievable. The bag and its contents can then be safely disposed in a household trashcan.
While flushing medications down the drain can contaminate water supplies and harm aquatic life, the Deterra® bags are made of environmentally sound materials that allow for the degradation of the plastic pouch and zipper through the use of organic additives that are consumed by microbes found in landfills.