VALLEY – Unused prescription drugs find their way into the wrong hands too often. Almost 1 in 7 people who abuse prescription painkillers say they got them from a friend or relative. As the new year starts, make a resolution to safely store – and dispose of – prescription medications.
Many people feel helpless to fight the growing opioid crisis – which includes both prescribed pain relievers like oxycodone, as well as heroin. Correctly disposing of unused medication is an important step everyone can take, along with using prescriptions as intended and storing them safely. (Learn more at www.TakeMedsSeriously.org). Fortunately, the addition of new drug take back locations is making proper drug disposal easier in the San Luis Valley.
The SLV now has four permanent medication take-back locations. Alamosa County’s Sheriff Office and Valley-Wide Health Systems’ Pharmacy in Alamosa have taken the lead in this effort; both provide disposal options on-site. The San Luis Valley Behavioral Health Group has added a site at their main office in Alamosa. Look for the big green box located right inside the main doors. As of November 2017, there is now also a location on the west side of the Valley. The South Fork Police Department has a medication take-back box at their office in the South Fork Town Hall.
Rio Grande County Public Health Director Emily Brown praised the new drop-off sites, and added, “Southern Colorado has some of the highest opioid death rates in the state, so it is very important for everyone to properly manage prescribed medications.”
The state of Colorado has set a goal of establishing at least one permanent collection location in every Colorado county. A site that partners with the Colorado Household Medication Take-Back Program, and receives a green metal disposal bin, must either be a law enforcement agency or a DEA-registered pharmacy. Work is being done to make sure every San Luis Valley county has a location. To learn more about efforts near you, contact your local county public health department.
More information about what medications can be dropped off, as well as addresses and hours of drop-off locations, can be found at https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/colorado-medication-take-back-program.