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Cache Valley adds more safe medication disposal sites

By Mark Rosa

The number of prescription drug drop-off boxes available to Cache Valley residents is set to grow.

Within the year, Cache County Sheriff’s Office community services coordinator Erin Griffeth said, select Intermountain Healthcare pharmacies will be equipped to collect and dispose of potentially dangerous medication and used syringes.

Previously, the sheriff’s office and health officials encouraged residents to flush potentially dangerous unused or expired medications down the toilet, but Logan City Police Department lieutenant Brad Franke explained that after a purity test of Logan’s water supply came back with traces of hundreds of prescription medications, the drop spots were created.

“The purpose behind the drop boxes is to give people a safe place to dispose of extra prescription medications without flushing them down the toilet and putting them into our water systems,” Franke said.

There are currently six such boxes in Cache County, all located at police departments or city offices.

Griffeth said the spots are imperative in the process of removing potentially addictive and dangerous drugs from the community in a responsible, safe manner.
Prescription drug abuse is a significant problem in Cache Valley, Griffeth said. Utah is often listed among the states with the most substantial prescription pill abuse problems in the nation. Although the state has received federal dollars to help combat the issue, she said, more must be done on a community level to eradicate the problem.

Griffeth hopes the presence of the boxes and the movement to educate the public of their purpose will help reduce overdoses and deaths attributed to prescription medication abuse.

She’s also hopeful that incidents of burglary in the valley will go down as prescription medication addicts begin to realize that fewer households have unused drugs lying around to be used or sold.

“Whether one person uses the box or 20 people use the box, that’s just one prescription drug that’s off the market,” Griffeth said. “I think any use of it is a success whether small or large.”

-mdl

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