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chaffee county collects 75 lbs of expired or unused medications for safe disposal


The following press release was submitted by Rebecca Rice, Chaffee County Build A Generation.

In four hours, Chaffee County turned in 75.7lbs of unused or expired medications at collection sites in Salida and Buena Vista as part of the Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on April 28th. A big thank you to the community members who made the effort to drop off their medications, the Buena Vista and Salida Police, Chaffee County Sheriff, Build A Generation, the local Pharmacists who volunteered, and the dedicated Pharmacy students from University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy. All medications turned in at the 117 state-wide collection sites are sent to Utah to be incinerated.

Why is proper use and disposal of prescription drugs so important? The Centers for Disease Control lists poisoning as the leading cause of death from injuries in the US and nearly 9 out of 10 poisoning deaths are caused by drugs. Also, unused prescription medications thrown in the trash can be retrieved to be illegally used or sold. Some medications can contaminate the water supply if flushed.

Alarmingly, prescription drugs are now second only to marijuana as the most common form of drug abuse in the US with 1 in 5 teens affected. The main types of abused prescription drugs are depressants, stimulants, and opioids (used to treat pain). People misusing prescription drugs may take more than one pill, combine them with other substances, or crush instead of swallowing.  In 2009, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that twice as many Coloradoans died from prescription drug abuse than from drunk-driving related crashes.

Studies show that prescription drugs are readily accessible – even easier than beer – with 55% coming from the home medicine cabinet. Even Chaffee County youth say that pills are easy to steal. Parents, grandparents, everyone – what prescription and over-the-counter drugs are in your home? Do you keep track of them or secure them? Do you talk to children about the dangers of medication abuse?

Just because a drug is prescribed by a physician does not mean they are safe.  Prescription medications must be used by the prescribed patient, within a prescribed time, for the prescribed reason and with a doctor’s guidance.

If a take-back site isn’t available, the recommended proper disposal of prescription medications is: take the prescription drugs out of their original container, mix the drugs with something unappealing like cat litter or coffee grounds, put this mixture into a disposable container with a lid or into a sealable bag, conceal or remove any personal information, and place the sealed container with the mixture and the empty drug container in the trash.