Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant and University of Illinois Extension

Partnering with the American Veterinary Medical Association

In November 2011, the National Sea Grant Office (NSGO), Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Department of Commerce signed a memorandum of understanding with the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) to develop a joint outreach and educational campaign for veterinary clients regarding proper pharmaceutical disposal. Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant (IISG) represents the NSGO on this project.

Goals of the partnership

  • Encourage as as many people as possible not to flush medications
  • Educate people about the environmental impacts of improper pharmaceutical disposal and the alternatives available for disposal
  • Share safety information on how to properly store medications out of reach of children and animals
  • Reinforce to animal owners the necessity of following veterinarian directions in giving medications to their animals as well providing guidance on how to dispose of any unneeded doses
  • Enhance collaboration and communications between animal owners and veterinarians to establish optimal prescription quantities and potential refills to address the animal health needs on an individual basis while minimizing potential pharmaceutical waste

Working Together to Spread the Word About Proper Disposal of Pharmaceuticals

In 2012, NSGO and AVMA partnered to create a Public Service Announcement about proper disposal of unwanted medications. The 15-second video (no audio) ran on the CBS JumboTron Super Screen in Times Square in New York City from December 2011 through March 31st. The PSA ran about 18 times a day, approximately every 80 minutes for 3 months. Check out the IISG's video about the PSA.

JAVMA News: Partnership to promote proper vet drug disposal

IISG News: Sea Grant and AVMA join forces to raise awareness on medicine disposal

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 how to find local medicine take-back programs as well as what to do if a program is not available nearby.

In the coming year, NSGO and AVMA will develop outreach materials for small-scale livestock producers and aquaculture producers that guide them on best management practices for disposing of expired or unused medications.

Relevant AVMA Policies

Additional Resources