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Local law enforcement agencies participate twice annually in the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day events each Spring and Fall. This Saturday, April 27, 2019 is the Spring event where personnel from the Vail Police Department and the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office will host collection sites from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at four locations : 1) Vail Municipal Building 2) Edwards Field House and 3) Costco in Gypsum 4) Carbondale Police Department.
This is an opportunity to clean out your medicine cabinets of all unwanted, expired or unused medications and have them disposed of safely. The service is free and anonymous with no questions asked.
Getting rid of unused medication helps prevent the accidental and intentional misuse of prescription medications. Local agencies including the Eagle River Water & Sanitation District support the safe disposal of medications because it helps to protects water sources by keeping drugs out of local wastewater and landfills.
The collected items will be incinerated in an environmentally friendly manner by the Drug Enforcement Administration, which spearheads the national effort. Locally, the DEA’s National Take Back Initiative is coordinated by the Safe Drug Disposal Program, which is a partnership among local agencies including the Vail Police Department, Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, Avon Police Department, Vail Health, Eagle County Government and the Eagle River Water & Sanitation District.
Items that can be dropped off on Saturday are vitamins, supplements, medicated ointments/lotions, over-the-counter and prescription medications, including controlled substances (narcotics). Please, no needles (sharps) or pressurized canisters.
Latest take back day stats:
Last year in April 2018, Americans turned in 474.5 tons (949,046 pounds) of prescription drugs at 5,842 sites set up by the DEA and its 4,683 law enforcement and community partners across the nation. In Colorado, 63 law enforcement agencies collected 8.6 tons (17,156 pounds) of prescription drugs at 86 sites.
The previous fifteen DEA-coordinated Take Back events nationwide since 2010 have removed nearly 10 million pounds (4,982 tons) of prescription medications from circulation (258,171 pounds in Colorado).
Public safety and public health:
This initiative addresses a crucial public safety and public health issue. Unused prescription medications in homes can be accidentally ingested, stolen, misused, and abused. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet. Also, Americans know that outdated methods for disposing of unused medicines – flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash – pose potential safety and health hazards.
In 2014, new regulations made the disposal of controlled prescription drugs easier for patients and their caregivers. Since then, law enforcement agencies, pharmacies, hospitals and clinics have begun continuous collection of these medications.
Year-round disposal sites
There are several permanent medication take back receptacles in the Eagle River Valley that can accept unwanted medications year round. The Vail Police Department, Avon Police Department, and Eagle County Sheriff’s Office each host a drop box as part of the Colorado Household Medication Take Back Program sponsored by the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention.
The green drug disposal drop boxes are located in the Vail municipal building, Avon public safety facility, and just inside the main doors of the Eagle County justice center in Eagle. These law enforcement drop boxes can accept unwanted medications – including controlled substances (narcotics) such as codeine, valium, phenobarbital and others – during regular business hours. The year-round disposal service is free and items may be deposited anonymously with no questions asked.
The Vail Pharmacy located inside Vail Health Hospital, the Edwards Pharmacy located inside the Shaw Pavilion, and the Household Hazardous Waste Facility in Wolcott also accepts unwanted medications, free of charge, during regular business hours. These businesses cannot accept controlled substances as those may only be collected by law enforcement agencies.