Pharmaceuticals contain compounds that maintain, prevent, treat, or restore the health of an organism. Their fundamental purpose is to protect and preserve life by enhancing the quality of life and increasing longevity through diagnostic, preventive, and therapeutic health care. In fact it has been observed that the existing products available on the market are most often focused on due to their positive attributes while rarely receiving focus on the more serious issues, such as what occurs with the remaining unused and/or expired stock? Unfortunately, the disposal of medical products is believed to introduce pharmaceutical residues into the environment with potentially catastrophic results.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Chemical debris present in our environment is sometimes referred by its acronym API which stands for Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients. Experts affirm that active pharmaceutical ingredients in our society, are due largely to our lack of understanding and means of disposal present a timely problem that threatens to compromise our community's environment. If it is that critical in our community, it is also a critical issue that should be addressed on a global basis because there should be no political boundaries when it comes to protecting our natural resources in a global community. 
            We strive to raise public awareness, not exclusively in our community, but throughout society. This is an emerging frontier and an environmental dilemma. Improper drug disposal must be addressed. Our community and society must be educated for proper drug disposal procedures and comply with protocols already recommended by current scientific consensus points. Moreover, we decided to gather the accurate percentages of the present misconceptions in our community by completing a survey.

The community survey conducted by Team DR.MED led us to concluded the following:

  • 59% of the individuals in our community flush the unused or expired medications down the commode
  • 38% of the population surveyed dispose of their unwanted pharmaceuticals by throwing them in the trash
  • Overall only 3% know of another method of safely discarding their medications
In San Antonio, drug disposal is a considerably important issue due to the common and constant implementation of these products in our communities. We have a very strong medical influence in our city. In possession of expired and/or unused medications, many people are either unaware of or find inconvenient any established procedure that should be performed with the disposal of their products.  Neither inconvenience nor ignorance is a compelling reason for the practice of polluting our groundwater with harmful chemicals. The irresponsible disposal of medication is a growing problem that must be solved.

Medications have been detected in varying amounts in surface water bodies (streams, lakes, and rivers) across the United States. The most recent extensive study of medications in surface waters was performed by the United States Geological Survey. A network of 25 ground-water and 49 surface-water sources of public drinking water supply in 25 states and Puerto Rico were sampled and analyzed for 124 emerging contaminants. At least one emerging contaminant was detected in 96% of the samples. Examples of medications found included acetaminophen, steroids, hormones, codeine, antibiotics, antimicrobials, birth control, and ibuprofen.

The Texas Commission of Environmental Quality states has stated that the major concerns to date regarding the presence of medications in surface water bodies are increased bacterial resistance to antibiotics and interference with growth and reproduction in aquatic organisms such as fish and frogs. Aquatic organisms are sensitive to low levels of exposure and are particularly vulnerable when exposure occurs during developmentally sensitive times such as before birth and during juvenile stages of growth. Effects of exposure can include a gender ratio imbalance, intersex conditions (the presence of both male and female reproductive organs within an individual organism); poor egg hatching success; decreased fertility and growth; and altered behavior (e.g. lethargy and disorientation). If these anomalies occur in such indicator species at this point in time, it is only a matter of time before their profound impact will affect the human population. Some scientists claim this is already occurring.

This is a complex issue and the level of risk to humans and the environment is still being determined. However, the Texas Pharmacy Association is firm that there are tens of thousands of pharmaceutical products on the market with more being developed each year. It is not definitively known which particular compounds or mixtures of these are a problems or what the long-term risks are. However, research is ongoing and, in the meantime, it is prudent to reduce the incidence of improper disposal of waste medications in order to minimize the potential negative and irreversible impacts on the environment. We should implement universal precaution in light of the fact that we really do not yet understand the potential devastation. 


Hello San Antonio! We will be needing your help to complete surveys as part of an investigation to discover the current statistics of awareness among our community. Team DR.MED will be traveling around the city in order to ask people to fill out a survey form. We will post a survey template for you to download on the Benefit to the Community page, however, you may also complete the following online survey which results will also by viewed to discover the overall knowledge of our community pertaining to proper pharmaceutical disposal. Thank you very much for all your support!
City of San Antonio


    Survey Questionnaire for DR.MED Project

     DR.MED is proud to announce two new features that we will be offering to our community. The first one, you may be aware of since we have already commenced our DR.MED campaign in San Antonio, Texas and we will soon be coming to a place near you. We will share our research and discoveries over the proper disposal of those pharmaceuticals that are present but are unwanted or expired. Our goal is to fundamentally educate our community the repercussions of improperly disposing of their over-the-counter and expired medications.  We as a community ought to comprehend that this act of imprudence may not only affect human health but it can potentially harm defenseless creatures and organisms in our environment. 
    This leads us to the second new feature that DR.MED will extend to use, which is the presentation of a DR.MED webpage in Spanish. Our San Antonio community is home to a highly dominant quantity of a Spanish speaking audience. Therefore, DR.MED will ensure that the Spanish language is not a barrier for the ongoing involvement of our project with our community. We will add a link to this website on our menu entitled Español as soon as we publish the website at the following web address: www.drmedespanol.weebly.com. Thank you all for the commitment and we will update regularly over the course of the DR.MED project.

San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
El Equipo DR.MED esta orgulloso de presentar una nueva pagina web en la cual nuestra comunidad de habla hispana podrá conectarse con nosotros durante el transcurso de nuestro proyecto. Nuestra meta fundamental es crear enfoque al método apropiado de disponer de los medicamentos no utilizados y caducados. Hay que crear concientización en nuestra comunidad sobre las repercusiones perjudiciales que los químicos contenidos por los productos farmaceuticos pueden causar en el medio ambiente. Por esa misma razón les invitamos que visiten nuestra nueva pagina web al oprimir la opción titulada Español en la barra de menú o directamente a la siguiente dirección web: www.drmedespanol.weebly.com. Aquí podrán encontrar valiosa información que les podrá ayudar a ejecutar el método seguro de disponer de sus medicinas y crear conciencia en sus familias sobre este serio problema y a si poden proteger nuestra salud y el entorno de todos los organismos. Muchas gracias por todo el apoyo que la comunidad nos a brindado y esperamos mantenerlos informados de nuestra campaña y proyecto.

                               Deterrence Regarding Medication in Environmental Devastation 

     For our project, our team fundamentally selected a topic that focuses on the hazardous chemicals that pharmaceuticals contain and their potential harm to the environment. According to EPA, when medication are incorrectly disposed of, (e.g. disposal by trowing in the garbage, or flushing down the commode) our environment is introduced to dangerous chemicals that may lead to devastating repercussions. NOAA speculates that water contamination, aquatic life complications, agricultural consequences and the influence of negative impact to human health are just a few of the abundant quantity of elemental contentions pharmaceuticals in the environment may cause.

          Pursuing this further, we ought to extend an indispensable example whom explains that the Edwards Aquifer is vital to the health and well-being of all nature and humans in and around our community in San Antonio, Texas. All of South Texas depends on the Edwards Aquifer’s water for domestic, agricultural, industrial, municipal, and recreational purposes. However, the contamination of our life-sustaining water supply is at risk of being contaminated by the consistent improper disposal of medications that end up in our environment.

     It has been discovered that an overwhelming majority of individuals in our community are not aware of the devastating elements that the incorrect disposal of pharmaceuticals lead to. Therefore, the main goal of our project to completely acknowledge this unheralded catastrophic environmental issue and educate our local community over this issue. Consequently, we will ensure that our environment is protected from the potential disastrous effects of the aforementioned controversy and perhaps Change The World. 


DR.MED:: Deterrence Regarding Medication in Environmental Devastation. We have taken up the cause for the proper disposal of pharmaceuticals and the education of the general public as to how this might be accomplished.
 The improper disposal of expired and unused medications is an issue that deeply concerns Team DR.MED. In this respective case we believe that we have an obligation to learn everything we can about this issue, through research and experimentation and then to find a way to resolve this challenge.
As student leaders in our STEM Academy, the members of this group have distinguished ourselves by serving our academy and our community. We united under a common concern and worked productively to reach a resolution and improve our community.

DR.MED will be interacting with the community through the course of this project and will update regularly over our discoveries as we complete the DR.MED project. We imply that you please add any questions,  concerns or simply comments that you may have pertaining to anything in general over our community issue.