Nebraska Passes Proper Rx Disposal Law

Nebraska has joined Iowa and a number of other states in instituting a safer way to discard old prescription medicines. A law passed this legislative session allows people to return expired and unused medications to participating pharmacies, which will package and mail them to approved medical incinerators for burning. The Nebraska Legislature unanimously approved Legislative Bill 274, and Gov. Dave Heineman signed it into law. The take-back program will begin in September 2011. Pharmacists warn that leaving old medication around the house could facilitate drug abuse or accidental poisoning. The longtime preferred disposal method — tossing pills into toilets and sinks — can harm the environment. Under current state law, people are allowed to return medications — except for controlled substances — only to the pharmacy from which they were purchased. The pharmacies must destroy the medications immediately, but the only authorized method of destruction is to flush them down the toilet.