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Operation Medicine Cabinet Hosts Pharmaceutical and Household Hazardous Waste Take-Back Day Oct. 19

by Madison V. Fisler

Oct. 16, 2013. On Saturday, Oct. 19, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Operation Medicine Cabinet will host a “Pharmaceutical Take-Back Day” to help residents dispose of all prescription and over-the-counter medications and medical supplies, no questions asked. 

The collection will take place at the Foscoe Fire Department on N.C. 105 and a three Food Lion locations (U.S. 321 near Wal-Mart, U.S. 421 and Blowing Rock). Volunteers from the Seven Devils Public Safety Committee will collect all prescription and non-prescription medications. 

imgresThe reasoning behind this take-back is that many pharmaceuticals can not be disposed of safely by conventional methods. Medications run the risk of contaminating landfills and water sources if disposed of improperly. 

“Even when run through a water processing system, all of the drugs are not taken out,” said Lisa Doty, Watauga County Recycling Coordinator. 

“There have been many studies that show that even after water is treated, certain aspects of pharmaceuticals are still in the water, and many of these medications are narcotics.”

Aside from the environmental impact, the collection is also aimed at getting pharmaceuticals out of medicine cabinets so that they can not be misused.

“This is largely aimed at getting drugs out of the hands of kids,” Doty said. “It’s one of the biggest problems out there.”

Drug Take-Back Day was started in 2008 and is held twice a year, once in May and once in October. There will be a pharmacist and the Sheriff’s office on site for all collections, and the collection is strictly “no questions asked.”

Alongside the pharmaceutical collection, there will also be a Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) collection from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Watauga County Landfill located at 336 Landfill Road. Household hazardous waste such as paint, antifreeze, pesticides, used oil, lead-acid batteries, ethylene, gasoline, lighter fluid and tube-like fluorescent bulbs will be accepted. 

Recommendations for the collection include the following:

  • stay in your vehicle during the entire collection
  • bring waste in their original containers if possible, and make sure containers are closed tightly
  • do not put waste in the backseat with children or pets. Transport the waste in the trunk of your vehicle
  • no smoking during the event- most HHW are flammable

“We want to remind everyone that this event is for residents only,” Doty said. “We cannot take any commercial hazardous waste, but we can provide businesses with outlets. We can only accept household hazardous waste at this event.” 

For more information on these events, please contact Lisa Doty, recycling coordinator at lisa.doty@watgov.org or call 828-265-4852 or 828-264-5305.