Saturday, September 20, 2008

Drugs in drinking water are controlled substances

In another amusing unintended consequence of the war on drugs, it turns out that the pharmaceuticals most likely to get disposed of into city water supplies are controlled substances. The restrictions on who has access to over 365 controlled substances are such that they can't be disposed of via normal hazardous waste disposal methods such as incineration, due to the costs of maintaining the controls on contractors who handle and haul away drugs for disposal.

As a result, hospitals and assisted living facilities are dumping drugs like codeine, morphine, oxycodone, diazepam (e.g., Valium) and methylphenidate (e.g., Ritalin) down the drains, behind locked doors with a witness to the disposal for record-keeping purposes.

The DEA is reportedly working out some modified regulations with the assistance of the EPA.

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