Deputies from the San Joaquin County Sherriff’s Department will be stationed at Mountain House Fire Station, 911 Tradition Way, to collect any unwanted prescriptions, while officials from the city of Tracy will be accepting medications in the City Hall parking lot, 333 Civic Center Plaza Drive. Both locations will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The Mountain House location will accept all medications in both pill and liquid forms, but not syringes. All medications and medical sharps can be dropped off at the Tracy location.
Participation is free and anonymous.
Les Garcia, spokesman for the sheriff’s department, said the program, sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration, is designed to prevent abuse and theft of the drugs by legally disposing of all expired and unwanted prescriptions.
“It’s important, especially in today’s climate where teenagers are basically raiding the medicine cabinets at their own residences or when they visit friends, and taking them to parties and sharing them,” he said. “It’s becoming more of a problem, and this is one way we can combat that. It’s a highly successful program.”
Last year at the Mountain House site, 25 pounds of prescription drugs were collected, while in San Joaquin County, more than 100 pounds of prescription pills were collected, including several canisters of drugs in liquid form and bio-hazardous materials including syringes. Numbers for Tracy were unavailable.
Garcia said people are urged to not flush the pills down the toilet because, once in the water system, medications can be hazardous to both people and wildlife and can’t be filtered out by water treatment plants.
A 2002 study by the U.S. Geological Survey found that 80 percent of streams in the United States had measurable amounts of prescription medication, including steroids and hormones.
He also encouraged people not to dispose of medication in the trash, because that would make it accessible to inmates who work at the county landfill transfer stations sorting recyclables out of the garbage, and it’s not uncommon for people to rummage through trash and recycle cans found on the sidewalks.
For information: Jennifer Cariglio, Tracy Public Works spokeswoman, 831-4420.