Iowans in 15 counties will soon be able to safely dispose of their unused over-the-counter or prescription drugs. The Environmental Protection Commission has approved a one-year, $225,000 pilot project between the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and Metro Waste Authority.

DNR environmental specialist Tom Anderson says too many people flush drugs down the drain and they end up in Iowa waterways. He says studies show toxins from the drugs are having a negative impact on fish and other aquatic wildlife.

Anderson says they’re hoping pharmacies will serve as collection sites for the unused drugs, including controlled substances. He says, because of the controlled substances, various security measures will need to be followed to comply with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. Pharmacies would already have those type of security measures already in place. It’s not clear yet when the pilot project will begin.

Anderson says an agreement still needs to be reached between DEA and Metro Waste Authority on how to handle collection, transportation and disposal of the drugs. The 15 counties that will be involved in the project have not been determined, but they will be among the 21 Iowa counties served by Metro Waste Authority.



Audio: Radio Iowa’s Pat Curtis reports. :40 MP3