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Don't Flush! Scientists say unused prescription drugs are hurting Great Lakes

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Jaime
/
Flickr, Creative Commons
Educators with a program out of Cornell University and SUNY are urging people to bring leftover prescription drugs to nearby collection sites.

Saturday is Drug Take Back Day for people across the country. Educators with a program out of Cornell University and SUNY are particularly urging people who live near the Great Lakes to bring leftover prescription drugs to nearby collection sites.

Helen Domske, with Sea Grant New York, says unused prescription drugs are often dumped down the drain or the toilet. That means antibiotics, hormones and vitamins are making their way into our waterways, threatening marine life.

 “There can be a real negative response with the animals. They can change behavior, they can change reproductive patterns. So it can be quite problematic." said Domske.

Various pharmacies are participating in Drug Take Back Day, including Kinney Drugs in Watertown, Oswego and Syracuse, which will collect leftover prescription drugs this Saturday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

"If they can’t participate in the Saturday event, we ask people to talk to their pharmacist. See if their particular drug store has a drug take part program or call their local law enforcement agency in their jurisdiction," said Domske.

According to Sea Grant New York, more than 350 tons of prescription drugs were dropped off at sites across the country last year.