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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Contact:
Sherri McDonald, Public Health and Social Services Director, 360-867-2502
Patrick Soderberg, Hazardous Waste Specialist   360-867-2586

Drop Box Opened for Prescription Medicine Disposal in Thurston County


OLYMPIA – Thurston County officials have opened a drop box for the safe and convenient disposal of old prescription medications. There have been few options in the past for the disposal of such medicines, which sometimes find their way into illegal and dangerous uses or wind up being flushed down the toilet.Sherri McDonald, Director of Thurston County Public Health and Social Services says just letting out of date or unused prescriptions sit in the medicine cabinet is NOT a good idea. “We hear too many stories of such medicines being taken by family members or acquaintances and diverted for sale or for recreational use which is highly dangerous. We also would caution people against hanging on to prescriptions past their expiration date.”

Patrick Soderberg, Hazardous Waste Specialist with the Thurston County Public Health Department, says the new drop off box is an excellent way to properly dispose of old medications. “Flushing them down the toilet is not really a good solution. Septic systems and sewage treatment plants are not designed to completely break down the medicinal compounds which can then end up in our groundwater and surface water.”The drop box, which will be monitored and emptied by the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office, is the best disposal method. “The Sheriff’s Office is legally approved to collect and dispose of the drugs,” says McDonald. “Their willingness to oversee the disposal of these medications is vital in getting this program up and running and we are thankful for their cooperation.” McDonald says the community organization TOGETHER! is also playing a key role in helping to publicize the medication disposal drop box.

The only other facility for used medications in the county is at the Group Health pharmacy on Lilly Road. The Group Health drop box, however, cannot be used to dispose of controlled substances (narcotics), because the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration only allows law enforcement to handle those drugs. The new facility outside the Sheriff’s office will overcome this obstacle and provide a safe, legal means for disposing of all drugs.

  • What - Prescription Medication Disposal Drop Box
  • When - Monitored and open for drop off of medications 24/7
  • Why - To allow proper disposal of left over or out of date prescription medicines
  • Where - The drop box is located just outside the main entrance of the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office, Building Three of the Thurston County Courthouse, 2000 Lakeridge Dr. SW Olympia, Washington
  • Who - Sponsored by Thurston County Public Health and Social Services Department, Thurston County Public Works Department, the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office, TOGETHER! and the Prescription Abuse Task Force
  • For More Information – See www.WhereDoITakeMy.org and look under “Medicines”

County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3