The only options are to throw them away mixed with "undesirable" items such as coffee grounds or old cat litter. [WHAT? Put it in the landfill? That seems like a bad idea.] Or I could find a drug disposal program and have them disposed of "properly". Donating them to a shelter or a vet who does pro bono work is out of the question. That was, of course, my ideal solution.
Playing devil's advocate...I know it would be horrible if I was some sicko who tampered with the pills and someone else's pet who isn't terminal died because of that. Horrible.
But I'm not going to tamper with them and I know that there are rescue organizations and people on fixed incomes who are trying to help animals cope with pain who could use this stuff. Use it responsibly and save dollars that could go toward another surgery for an animal in need or a couple months worth of dog food.
Maybe I watch and read too much science fiction but this is where I can see where black markets and underground sources for goods could be fostered. Not because of people who wanted access to illegal goods, but because the waste of limited resources is appalling. The paranoia that causes the waste, too, is unsettling when you stop to think about it.
And yet I buy into it too - would I be willing to buy 'used' drugs from the vet or my doctor? I'm not sure. If I personally knew the source, the answer is yes. If the source were a friend of a friend who vouched for them? Yes. Any further separation than that? I don't know that I could.
Even with those two levels of separation we could make a difference though. I've had connections with two shelters for years and have adopted several animals. I spend a lot of time at my Vet's office between my furry crew. I could be considered a safe bet in the shelter's or Vet office's eyes. How many other people might have that same direct connection? There we go...two levels of separation and relative safety. Plus the Vet knows when and why the drugs were prescribed in the first place.
But that's not an option. If you're in Iowa too it looks like the best option is to take advantage of the TakeAway Environmental Return System. At least then the drugs won't make it to the landfills or into our water supply. Info from the TakeAway description at the Iowa Pharmacy Association web site:
Once filled, the TakeAway system is sealed and shipped to a medication disposal facility where the entire TakeAway system and its contents are incinerated. This ensures unused and expired pharmaceuticals do not enter water supplies. In addition, the incineration facility used by the TakeAway program employs a waste-to-energy incineration process—meaning the energy produced by incineration is harnessed into electricity.I realize there's no solution to this post except maybe to save someone else research time and get them to the TakeAway site to find a participating pharmacy near them. I'm not ambitious enough to start my own underground pet med supply. I'm just a part time tree hugger appalled by the lack of options to try to do something good with items we can't use.