On Oct. 29, the Pierce County Sheriff's Department will collect and safely dispose of unwanted or expired medicines as part of the federal Drug Enforcement Agency's third National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.
In Sumner, visitors can drop off unwanted prescriptions any day of the week in a bin inside Sumner City Hall in the police lobby.
In the last Drug Take Back Day, Sumner collected about 45 pounds of unused prescription medications.
“Since we installed the bin in April 2010, we’ve kept over 400 pounds of medications out of the wrong hands and out of our environment,” said Carmen Palmer, Sumner communications director.
Bonney Lake Police Chief Dana Powers noted that in her town, prescription medication abuse is on the rise.
“The drug of choice is still marijuana, but we’re definitely seeing a rise in abuse of prescription drugs, with more complications from Oxycodone,” said Powers.
Not only do Take Back drug programs keep controlled substances off the streets, they keep them from damaging the environment. Medications flushed down the toilet can eventually wind up in the Puget Sound. Sewage treatment systems are effective at removing solids and harmful bacteria, but they are not designed to remove pharmaceuticals from wastewater. Even medicines placed in the garbage may remain chemically active and escape into the environment.
“Help us keep drugs out of the sewer system," said Tim Ramsaur, Pierce County Wastewater Utility manager. "Safe disposal of unwanted medicine plays an important role in public health and in improving wastewater quality before it's discharged to the environment."
If you are not in the Sumner area but would like to participate in Drug Take Back Day, you can anonymously drop off medications, including controlled substances, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the following locations:
- Pierce County Sheriff's Department South Hill Precinct, 271 John Bananola Way East, Puyallup.
- University Place Public Safety Building, 3631 Drexler Drive West, University Place.
- Sprinker Recreation Center parking lot, 14824 C St. South, Tacoma.