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Safe Ways to Dispose of Prescription Drugs

January 6, 2011

OK, we’ve all done it: Not finished those last few days of antibiotics because we’re already feeling better, or maybe we just forget, but we throw ’em in our medicine cabinets or junk drawers and they sit there. So what to do? Whether it’s prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications, the worst thing would be to throw them away, flush them down the toilet or burn them.

Here’s why (taken from a pamphlet created by the Ashland County Health and Human Services):

  1. Contamination of water resources. Wastewater treatment plants and septic systems are not made to remove all medicines from wastewater. Chemicals from drugs en up going directly into lakes and rivers and make their way to our groundwater. Various levels of antibiotics, antidepressants, birth control hormones and other drugs have been detected in waterways across the United State. Medications found in water can lead to reproductive and developmental problems for fish and other aquatic wildlife.
  2. Accidental childhood poisoning. Medications sometimes look like candy to small children. Improper storage or throwing them away in the trash provides easy access to children and pets.
  3. Substance abuse. Children, teens and adults are abusing some prescription drugs to get high. Some people even think that using prescription drugs is a safer way to get high.

Medication Collection Programs for Ashland, Bayfield and Price Counties DO EXIST!! Follow these simple guidelines and see below for the collection site nearest you. There is no cost to participate.

  • Keep medications in the original package or bottle, if possible.
  • You CAN cross off the patient’s name and address, but DO NOT cover up or remove the name of the medicine.
  • Bring all unwanted medications to the collection site nearest you, don’t worry if it’s not in the county where you live.

Collection Sites

Ashland Police Department
601 Main St, Ashland
24 hours a day, every day

Bayfield County Sheriff’s Department
615 Second Ave E, Washburn
M-F, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm

Park Falls Police Department
400 4th Ave South, Park Falls
M-F, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm

Price County Sheriff’s Department
164 Cherry Street, Phillips
24 hours a day, every day

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