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Chaffee county collects 98 lbs of medications for safe disposal


In four hours, Chaffee County turned in 98 lbs of unused or expired medications at collection sites in Buena Vista and Salida as part of the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on September 29th. A big thank you to the community members who made the effort to drop off their medications, the Buena Vista Pharmacy for hosting a site, Buena Vista and Salida Police, Chaffee County Sheriff, Build A Generation, Chaffee County Public Health, local Pharmacist volunteers, and the dedicated Pharmacy students from University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy. All medications turned in state-wide are sent to Utah to be incinerated.

Chaffee County Public Health provided 92 flu, T-Dap and Pneumonia vaccinations. Many community members also took advantage of free glucose and blood pressure screenings, as well as educational counseling and materials. 

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 2x 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 to take the medication out of the bottle, mix them with something unappealing like used kitty litter or coffee grounds, and seal them in a bag or disposable container and throw that away.

Rebecca Rice

Coordinator, Buena Vista Build A Generation


ph: 719-395-0344, x102

fax: 719-395-0347

112 Linderman Ave.

Mailing address: PO Box 5080

Buena Vista, CO 81211

“Uniting Our Community for Youth”