National Drug Take Back Event to take place Saturday |

National Drug Take Back Event to take place Saturday

The event serves as an opportunity for residents to dispose of unwanted and unused medications

Unsorted prescription pills sit in a pharmacist's counting tray before they are bottled. Getting rid of unused medications helps prevent accidental and intentional misuse of these items while safe disposal protects water sources by keeping drugs out of wastewater and the landfill.
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The Avon Police Department is participating in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday. The collection takes place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Walmart, 171 Yoder Ave. in Avon. There will also be a collection site from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.Saturday at the Vail Municipal Building, courtesy of Vail Police and City Market in Eagle, staffed by the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office.

This is an opportunity to clean out your medicine cabinets of all unwanted, expired or unused medications and dispose of them safely.

Getting rid of unused medications helps prevent accidental and intentional misuse of these items — and doing it safely keeps drugs out of our water sources, wastewater and landfill. The service is free and anonymous, with no questions asked.

The collected items will be incinerated in an environmentally friendly manner by the Drug Enforcement Administration, which spearheads the national effort. Locally, the agency’s National Take Back Initiative is coordinated by the Safe Drug Disposal Program, which is a partnership among the Avon Police Department, Vail Police Department, Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, Eagle River Water and Sanitation District, Eagle County and Vail Health.

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

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Dating back to 2010, the 20 previous nationwide Take Back events have led law enforcement authorities to take in over 14.5 million pounds or over 7,262 tons of medications.

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse. 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 most abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.

The Drug Enforcement Agency launched its prescription drug take back program when both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration advised the public that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines — flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash — posed potential safety and health hazards.

Year-round disposal sites

There are five permanent medication take back receptacles in the Eagle River Valley. 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.

These law-enforcement drop boxes can accept unwanted medications — including controlled-substance narcotics such as oxycodone, codeine, phenobarbital and others — during regular business hours and are located in the Vail Municipal Building, Avon Public Safety Facility and lobby of the Justice Center in Eagle. These year-round disposal services are free, and items may be deposited anonymously with no questions asked.

The Vail Pharmacy at Vail Health Hospital and the Edwards Pharmacy at the Shaw Cancer Center also have safe disposal boxes for medications that are free and operate during business hours.

For more information on either program, contact the Avon Police Department at 970-748-4040.

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