National Drug Take Back Event is Sept. 26 with collection sites in Vail, Edwards, and Gypsum

Local law enforcement agencies are participating in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day Saturday, Sept. 26. 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 the Vail Municipal Building parking lot, WECMRD Field House in Edwards, and Costco in Gypsum. 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, no questions asked.

Getting rid of unused medication helps prevent the accidental and intentional misuse of these items. Eagle River Water & Sanitation District supports safe disposal of medicine because it protects water sources by keeping drugs out of wastewater and the landfill.

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 the Vail Police Department, Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, Eagle River Water & Sanitation District, Eagle County, and Vail Valley Medical Center.

Items that can be dropped off Sept. 26 are vitamins, supplements, medicated ointments/lotions, over-the-counter and prescription medications, including controlled substances (narcotics). Please, no needles (sharps) or pressurized canisters.

Last September, Americans turned in 309 tons (617,150 pounds) of prescription drugs at 5,495 sites set up by the DEA and its 4,076 national, tribal, and community law enforcement partners. In all, the nine previous DEA-coordinated Take Back events have removed over 4.8 million pounds—more than 2,400 tons—of prescription medications from circulation.

This initiative addresses a vital 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 are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines—flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash—both pose potential safety and health hazards.

In addition to the services offered on National Drug Take Back Day, the Eagle Valley Pharmacy located inside the Vail Valley Medical Center, Edwards Pharmacy located inside the Shaw Pavilion, and the Household Hazardous Waste Facility in Wolcott will accept unwanted medications free of charge during regular business hours and will have them disposed of properly. Please note that these businesses cannot accept controlled substances such as codeine, valium, phenobarbital and others.

Controlled substances can be dropped in the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office drug disposal drop box that is located in the lobby of the justice center at 885 E Chambers Ave in Eagle.This service is offered free of charge Monday – Friday during regular business hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.). All drugs collected are properly destroyed in a drug incinerator.