The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant (IISG)have created a new brochure to inform pet owners about the importance of properdisposal of unused medications.

The brochure is free and available to the general public.

Pets, just like people, are often prescribed antibiotics and other medications by veterinarians to treat illness and disease.  Just like human medications, appropriate use of those medications, safe storage and proper disposal of unused medications help to protect people, pets and the environment.

“This brochure carries an important message,” explains Dr. Douglas Aspros, president of the AVMA. “Many people don’t understand how dangerous medications can be to their pets or to the environment. Prescription medications are the number one cause of accidental poisonings in pets, so it is important to make sure you store medicines out of reach of pets and dispose of them properly.”

This brochure is available free on the AVMA website and is being distributed free-of-charge to veterinarians. Veterinarians are encouraged to provide the brochure to their clients and discuss the importance of the proper use and disposal of medications.

“Following the tips in this brochure will help protect children and pets from accidental poisonings and reduce the amount of pharmaceuticals entering our waterways and drinking water supplies,” said Laura Kammin, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant pollution prevention specialist. “We hope that veterinarians and veterinary technicians use these guidelines to convey to pet owners the importance of giving medicine according to directions and to educate them on how to properly dispose of any unused medications."

Prescription for Safety: How to Dispose of Unwanted Medicine identifies and describes 5 simple Do’s and Don’ts of pharmaceutical stewardship: 1) Use as directed, 2) Store correctly, 3) Don’t flush, 4) Don’t share or sell, and 5) Properly dispose. The brochure also provides pet owners with information on locating local medicine collection programs, as well as what to do if a program is not available nearby.

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 29, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.Law enforcement agencies across the country will serve as collection sites offering an opportunity to safely dispose of unwanted medications.  For more information, on this program visit: http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/.