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Trash, not toilet, best place to ditch prescription drugs

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Question: Can you please consider an addendum to the article in the June 3 "Kokua Line" about the proper disposal of prescription drugs? Flushing medications down the toilet is not environmentally appropriate as sewage systems do not destroy all pharmaceuticals. The best approach in Hawaii is to use the Federal Guide and get the trashed medicines into the HPOWER waste stream.

Answer: While state and city officials say it is OK to flush unused drugs into the sewage system, the federal Office of National Drug Control Policy does advise against the practice – unless specifically instructed to do so.

In guidelines issued last October, the agency said that certain drugs, including Demerol, Oxycontin and Percodan, should be flushed because they could be especially harmful, even fatal, if ingested by someone other than the person the medicine was prescribed for.

The agency and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration suggest disposing of unwanted drugs through drug take-back programs, preferably, or in the household trash.

As far as Libby Char, director of the city Emergency Services Department, knows, no local agency, with the city or otherwise, has offered a drug take-back or buy-back program.

The issue is that it’s too hard to verify that the pills in the bottle are what the label says and/or that the bottle hasn’t been tampered with, she said.

In the absence of such programs, the FDA suggests getting rid of the drugs in the household trash, by:

» Removing them from their original containers.

» Mixing the drugs with anything "undesirable," such as cat litter or used coffee grounds.

» Putting the mixture into a disposable lidded container, such as an empty margarine tub, or a sealable bag.

» Concealing or removing any personal information, including prescription number.

For more information, go to the FDA’s website,, or call 888-INFO-FDA (888-463-6332).

Question: I saw this headline last month: "H-1 crash in Waiawa injures 3, one critically, causing major traffic jam." Where is Waiawa? I never heard of it. I can’t find it on the map.

Answer: Perhaps the most notable landmark denoting the area is the Waiawa Correctional Facility, just off of Mililani Cemetery Road, on the way to Mililani Mortuary.

The Waiawa Ahupua’a is just under 17 square miles roughly mauka of the H-2 freeway, between Pearl City and Mililani Mauka. It is home to just less than 6,000 residents, according to (see

Question: I was born and raised in Honolulu. I live in Georgia now but visit fairly regularly. My cousin, who was born in Honolulu but now lives in California, was telling me that he got a Hawaii state ID card on a visit so he gets kamaaina rates on a lot of attractions when he visits Honolulu. He was a little light on details as to how to get a card. Can you enlighten me, please?

Answer: If you live out of state, you can still get a Hawaii ID card, but it will reflect your permanent address – meaning your Georgia address.

That would negate any "kamaaina (discount) deals" offered Hawaii residents.

Chapter 846-28(1) of the Hawaii Revised Statutes, which requires cardholders to put down their permanent home addresses, was enacted after officials found out that tourists were being advised to get the ID cards just to get cheaper rates.

Write to "Kokua Line" at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or e-mail


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