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Cleaning out your medicine cabinet

Carbon County families will have an opportunity to drop off their unused prescription and over-the-counter drugs at "Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet" community medication take-back event at a local location on April 24 or Earth Day as it is known nationally.

Concerns have arisen over the last few years about how people have been disposing of drugs that they have in their homes that are either going unused or have passed the expiration dates. People used to just throw them in the garbage can, but warnings about people digging through trash barrels for drugs stopped a lot of that. Then be people began putting them down the sewage system. However, now water quality experts are saying that in much of the drinking water in the United States there are traces of some of the most common drugs that medical professionals prescribe. In addition the amount of anti-biotics that are appearing in water concerns those that are worried about bacteria becoming immune to those drugs as it is.

So in the last few years officials have begun setting dump stations for drugs. This is one more effort in a continuing effort to cut down drug traces in the environment.

"The public has become very concerned about abuse and poisonings from unused prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs," said Leah Ann Lamb, assistant director of the Division of Water Quality. "But they are also concerned about the impact to the environment from flushing medicines down the toilet or sink that is why our Earth Day focus is medication take-back."

The event is sponsored by local law enforcement agencies that provide safe "Drive-Up Drop-Off" access in which officers take possession of the medications and have them incinerated.

"We are pleased to offer this service for our customers who often ask how to properly dispose of their medications. Once a prescription is issued, our pharmacists cannot take them back. The 'Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet' events provide a legal, safe method for medication disposal," said Marsha Gilford, Vice President Public Affairs, Smith's Food and Drug Stores.

The Department of Environmental Quality has teamed up with law enforcement agencies, the Utah Poison Control Center, Smith's Food and Drug Stores, local health departments, drug abuse prevention and recycling coalitions, and water and sewer agencies to provide "Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet" community collection events, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on that day.

The local drop off point will be in the Sutherland's parking lot in Price.

For convenience and safety, folks never have to get out of their car at these collections. For more information on proper disposal, including information on DEQ grants to local law enforcement agencies to provide collection boxes. visit:

Residents are also reminded that there are regular drop off points for drugs as well that are open all year round. This includes a drop off spot at the Price Police Department and in East Carbon at the city hall.

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