Unused or old prescription drugs, and needles and syringes do not belong in landfills.
To protect the environment, waste workers – and follow the law – the county is implementing its annual “Take Back” day and has also offered tips on what to do with hypodermic needles.
The Riverside County Sheriff's Department in partnership with the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will hold a prescription drug "Take-Back" day Saturday, Sept. 29, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The program allows members of the public to drop off potentially dangerous, expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs for destruction at any of the below listed Sheriff's Stations throughout Riverside County, including the Lake Elsinore Station.
“The service is free and anonymous with no questions asked,” said Lt. Jim Armstrong of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.
In 2011, Riverside County residents disposed of 1,262 pounds of unwanted and outdated prescription drugs, according to the lieutenant.
“This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Many Americans are not aware that medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to misuse and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are increasing at alarming rates, 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,” Armstrong said.
In a separate message Wednesday, county officials announced the Riverside County Waste Management Department is operating a household hazardous waste collection program that provides free disposal of needles, lancets, and sharps for county residents. The program gives county residents an option to dispose of sharps waste properly at no cost.
“Waste workers who handle trash, repair equipment, work at landfills, and sorters that separate recyclable materials like plastic, paper, metal and glass, can be exposed to unnecessary needle sticks from sharps (needles, syringes, and lancets) that are disposed of improperly and hidden in trash and recyclables,” county officials warned in Wednesday’s statement.
County officials reminded residents that state law makes it illegal to dispose of home-generated sharps in the trash or recycling containers, and requires that all sharps waste be transported to a collection center in a sharps container approved by the local enforcement agency or through an approved mail back program.
Waste Management does provides instructions on how to make a low cost approved sharps container on its website, http://www.rivcowm.org/opencms/hhw/pdf/88751-Biohazard-labels.PDF. The site describes how to download special biohazard labels and attach them to hard-sided plastic laundry detergent bottles. Preprinted labels are also available directly from the department.
Mail-back containers can also be purchased at pharmacies or through a medical supplier. In addition, some cities have sharps disposal programs for their residents.
For more information on the proper disposal of medications and sharps in Riverside County, contact the Riverside County Waste Management Department at (951) 486-3200 or (800) 304-2226, or www.rivcowm.org.
Riverside County Sheriff's Stations that will be participating in the National "Take Back" day, Sept. 29, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.:Cabazon Sheriff's Station
50290 Main Street
Cabazon, CA 92230
Hemet Sheriff's Station
43950 Acacia Ave., Suite B
Hemet, CA 92544
7477 Mission Boulevard
Riverside, CA 92509
Lake Elsinore Sheriff's Station
333 Limited Avenue
Lake Elsinore, CA 92530
Moreno Valley Police Department
22850 Calle San Juan De Los Lagos
Moreno Valley, CA 92552
73705 Gerald Ford Drive
Palm Desert, CA 92260
Perris Sheriff's Station
137 N. Perris Blvd., Suite A
Perris, CA 92570
Southwest Sheriff's Station
30755 A Auld Road
Murrieta, CA 92563
86625 Airport Blvd.
Thermal, CA 92274