Disposal of Unwanted Medicine: Veterinary Medicine Student Mentoring

The use of prescription medicine increases and new drugs come on the market every year in this country. When people's prescriptions change, their drugs expire or are no longer needed, these medicines are typically thrown away. But chemicals from pharmaceuticals flushed down the toilet can pass undestroyed through sewage plants, damage septic systems, and contaminate nearby waterways.

Veterinary medicine students will be trained in teaching content and identifying appropriate actions regarding disposal of unwanted medicine. Using this information, they will teach high school students to inspire stewardship of the environment. This effort aligns with White House Office of National Drug Control Policy disposal guidelines and U.S. EPA policies to build consumer awareness about medical waste hazards.


To collaborate with veterinary medicine students to raise awareness in high school students about the impacts of unwanted pharmaceuticals in the waste stream and inspire stewardship of the environment.


  • To teach vet med students about sources of pharmaceutical water pollution and the impacts on the environment.
  • To facilitate vet med students to use their new knowledge to inform high school science and social studies students about this topic.
  • To involve vet med and high school students to encourage others to be more aware of pharmaceutical water pollution.
  • To encourage local citizens to participate in pharmaceutical disposal programs in their community in support of environmental stewardship.


Terri Hallesy
Education Coordinator

Laura Kammin
Pollution Prevention Program Specialist

Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant
Purdue University
195 Marsteller Street
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2033
University of Illinois Extensio
Sea Grant
Purdue University