It's official, folks. There is a week-long celebration in the state of California dedicated to NOT dumping your pharmaceutical drugs down the toilet. Your BCP's and Viagra now join the likes of pet alligators and paper towels.... Just don't do it.
Why is it so important? Why are we focusing for an entire week on Drugs Down the Drain, when there is only one day dedicated to all of the presidents of the United States combined? Because that stuff can end up in your drinking water, that's why!!
Forget about saving the environment, and all that stuff about polluting the rivers and killing innocent plants and animals.... think about your internal environment!! Pharmaceutical drugs are nasty, they are meant to be nasty. They are designed to be pervasive and work really well at what they do, which is destroy their target micro-organism/chemical pathway/physiological process. Because they are so good at what they do, they sometimes do things that drug-makers and researchers had no idea they would do until after they'd been in use for a while. The pharmaceutical drug industry is still very young, beginning with the advent of penicillin in the 1930's. This revolution in health care has saved a lot of lives, but it has also bred a lot of super drugs that now threaten our ability to utilize them as useful tools, as well as threaten our own immune systems with their potency.
Here's a more eloquent quote from the book, The Lost Language of Plants, by Stephen Harrod Buhner:
Many excreted pharmaceuticals and their metabolites are not biodegradable and go on producing chemical effects forever. Most that do biodegrade are regularly replenished by the need for continual dosing or by new prescriptions for new people. As pharmaceuticals are excreted in pure and metabolized forms they also intermix in the waste streams that flow into the environment in ways that cannot be predicted, with effects that are not understood. Researchers have found that metabolites, chemicals produced as by-products of pharmaceutical interaction with the body, tend to be more persistent in the environment, and are sometimes more powerful in their actions, than the drugs from which they are derived.
The mixing of chemical compounds in the environment is like mixing your drinks; if you start the night with a fine wine and end it with plastic-bottle vodka and whisky, you're going to regret being alive the next morning. But unlike alcohol, which does metabolize and degrade in our bodies and in the environment, these synthetic compounds do not.
So, remember, when your hands reach for that bottle of pills you no longer need, and you feel the temptation of the shiny white porcelain, think of yourself for a minute. You don't want to drink that in your water later, do you?