Pharmacies provide medicines and controlled substances to hospitals and other healthcare units to save people’s lives. With hundreds of pharmacies in the United States, imagine the large consumption of these substances every single day. It can also be hazardous to people and the environment when disposed of and handled with no precautions. Hence, this is the prime reason why pharmaceutical waste disposal should be properly implemented.

Types of Pharmaceutical Wastes

Here are the four common types of pharmaceutical waste:

  • Over-the-counter drug waste. These drugs were used to alleviate headaches, colds, acid reflux, and allergies. Similarly, this type of drugs can be purchased without a physician’s prescriptions.
  • Non-controlled/non-hazardous prescription drug waste. These drugs were used to treat high blood pressure, bacterial infections, and diabetes. Although they are considered non-hazardous, it may pose danger to those who will take in these meds without prescription.
  • Controlled drug waste. Pharmacies, hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare providers regulated selling of these drugs as they can be highly addictive. They’re also the drugs commonly abused by many leading to intoxication.
  • Hazardous drug waste. These type of drugs can cause death or serious illness when taken without a prescription from a doctor. It can also be dangerous to the environment when improperly disposed of.

Why Proper Pharmaceutical Waste Disposal Is Important

Improper pharmaceutical waste disposal poses hazards to the surroundings. That is why medical waste disposal for healthcare facilities in North America is properly observed. Here are some reasons and hazards that will prove the importance to the environment and community of proper disposal:

Water Sources

Drug waste may go directly to the bodies of water and seep into sewages. In turn, our primary source of water for drinking, cooking, and bathing might be affected. There are high chances of developing skin diseases when used in bathing and other serious illnesses if consumed via drinking and cooking.

Environmental Hazards

The environment gets affected the worst by improper disposal of pharmaceutical waste. They tend to enter the aquatic system through sewages. They then go directly to the bodies of water and get induced by the marine animals, which results in the death of many species. People can get the same effect via the food chain. Apart from that,  improper disposal also causes the balance of their natural ecosystem.

Risks to People

When this waste ends up in landfills, it automatically poses risks to the community, even garbage collectors, by leaching into the air, water, and land. Most of the diseases have a life-long impact and may even result in death. This is mostly applicable to hazardous drug waste. If this practice continues, more waste will be added, and the potency of the contamination goes higher.

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