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Summit County urges residents to help prevent substance abuse and protect local ecosystems by dropping off unused and expired medications Saturday, April 18
Contact:Laurie BlackwellCoordinator, Healthy Futures InitiativeSummit County Youth and Family Services970-668-9196; firstname.lastname@example.org
SUMMIT COUNTY – Summit County is encouraging residents to give their medicine cabinets a spring cleaning by bringing unused, unwanted and expired medications to the 9Health Fair on Saturday, April 18, from 7 a.m. to 12 noon, at Summit High School. The annual prescription take-back allows residents to safely dispose of these medications, thereby helping to prevent substance abuse and pollution of local waterways.
The take-back event is offered through a partnership of the Summit County Healthy Futures Initiative, the Summit County Sheriff’s Office and St. Anthony Summit Medical Center. The service is free and anonymous, with no questions asked of any participants.
“This is an easy, convenient way to get rid of unused medications, and we’re excited to participate again this year,” said Sheriff John Minor. “It helps keep prescription drugs out of kids’ hands, and it prevents unused medications from ending up in our landfill or water supply.”
To participate in the prescription take-back event, residents should leave medications in their original containers and mark out all personal information. Accepted items include prescription medication, controlled substance medication, over-the-counter medication, medication samples, vitamins, medicated lotions and ointments, inhalers, liquid medication in leak-proof containers and unopened transdermal skin patches. Items not accepted include needles, lancets, thermometers, infectious waste, personal care products, medical marijuana, business waste and aerosol cans.
The Sheriff’s Office will document and destroy all the pharmaceuticals it collects through the take-back event. At last year’s event, residents dropped off 46 pounds of medications.
“We do see prescription drug abuse in Summit County, but as a community, we can come together and take some easy steps toward prevention,” Healthy Futures Coordinator Laurie Blackwell said. “Forty-two percent of Colorado teens say it’s easy to get prescription drugs from their parents’ medicine cabinets. That tells you how important it is to remove access to these substances.”
Medicines that sit unused in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse. Their easy availability can also result in accidental poisonings and overdoses. After marijuana and alcohol, prescription and over-the-counter drugs are the most commonly abused substances by Americans 14 and older, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Almost 224,000 Coloradans misuse prescription drugs each year, and 29 percent of Coloradans have used pain medication prescribed for someone else, according to the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention, created by Gov. John Hickenlooper in 2013. Each year, painkiller overdoses result in 300 deaths in Colorado.
Substance abuse is not the only concern related to unused prescription drugs. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, sewage systems are not equipped to remove pharmaceuticals, and certain drugs may cause ecological harm. For these reasons, unused prescription drugs should never be flushed down toilets or sent down drains.
On a year-round basis, City Market stores in Dillon and Breckenridge both offer secure bins for collection of unused pharmaceuticals, with the exception of narcotics and controlled substances. The Summit County Sheriff’s Office has a medication collection bin inside the Summit County Justice Center, where narcotics are accepted. For more information on proper disposal of medications, visit www.highcountryconservation.org/waste-reduction/recycling-faqs/pharmaceutical-take-back.
Healthy Futures Initiative is a cooperative effort among local agencies and community organizations to reduce youth substance abuse through education and collaboration. For more information about Healthy Futures Initiative or its projects, contact Coordinator Laurie Blackwell at 970-668-9196 or email@example.com, or visit the website at summithealthyfutures.org.