News Flash

Sheriff's Department

Posted on: September 14, 2012

Help yourself and the environment: turn in unused, expired medicines

Friday Sep 14 2012 8:52 AM

The public is encouraged to safely dispose of unused or expired medicines - including controlled substances - during the nationwide drug "take back" day on Saturday, Sept. 29.

This event will provide free, anonymous collection of unwanted or expired drugs between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the following locations:

* Pierce County Sheriff's Department South Hill Precinct, 271 John Bananola Way E., Puyallup.

* University Place Police Department, 3609 Market Place West Suite 201, University Place.

* Sprinker Rec Center Parking Lot, 14824 South C Street, Tacoma.

The national drug take back day draws attention to the effort, which is available year-round. Twenty-three "take back" sites in Pierce County that operate year-round. Most are law enforcement agencies, but some pharmacies also participate. Only law enforcement agencies can accept controlled substances. The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department's directory featuring all 23 sites can be found at

Citizens have turned in tons of pills since the first National Prescription Drug Take Back Day in September 2010. This removes potentially dangerous prescription drugs and controlled substances from medicine cabinets.

Many people unknowingly create safety and health hazards by flushing unused medicines down the toilet or throwing them away. Drugs flushed down the toilet will eventually flow into water bodies like Puget Sound because most medicines are not removed by wastewater treatment processes or septic systems. Even medicines placed in the garbage could remain chemically active and escape into the environment when landfill liquids are sent to a wastewater treatment plant. Medicines in the garbage can present a risk to sanitation workers.

For more information:DEA National Take Back Initiative:

Programs in Washington state:

MEDIA CONTACTS:Lt. Jim Kelly, Pierce County Sheriff's Department

Tim Ramsaur, Wastewater Utility manager

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