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OUR VIEW: County joins prescription drug disposal effort

La Salle County’s new prescription drug drop box in the vestibule of the sheriff’s office is accessible around the clock.
La Salle County’s new prescription drug drop box in the vestibule of the sheriff’s office is accessible around the clock.

THE ISSUE: La Salle County installs prescription drug drop box at sheriff’s office
OUR VIEW: Just in time for National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, Saturday, April 28.


La Salle County has joined the many local municipalities that provide a receptacle where expired and unneeded prescription drugs can safely be deposited.
The county’s new location is in the vestibule of the sheriff’s office in Ottawa where it is accessible around the clock.
As Rich Ploch, the chief deputy of the county coroners office, explained to the County Board last week, the new receptacle is the place to drop off any dry prescription drugs. However, not allowed are needles, liquids, chemicals and inhalers.
The timing for this county initiative could not be better: National Prescription Drug Take Back Day will be 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 28.
The drug depository is a joint project by the county coroner, sheriff, state’s attorney and health department. The drug collection box was provided at no cost to the county through the National Prescription Drug Take Back Program, which is run by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Ploch said.
The new county program is similar to the Illinois Prescription Pill and Drug Disposal Program Network which many local police departments joined starting in May 2009. Prescription drug collection boxes are a familiar sight in many police station lobbies.
Some may still think it’s OK to flush pharmaceuticals down the toilet. But the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency says that is considered to be the least desirable of all alternatives.
“For many years many households and businesses have gotten into the habit of flushing waste pharmaceuticals down the toilet or pouring them down the drain because it is low cost and appears to be the simplest way to prevent unintended use or other diversion,” according to the IEPA. “However, wastewater treatment plants and septic systems are generally not designed to treat pharmaceutical waste.”
Traces of painkillers, estrogen, antidepressants and blood-pressure medicines show up in many water systems. Studies have linked hormone exposure to reproductive defects in fish, and environmental exposure to antibiotics to the development of drug-resistant germs.
So, with National Prescription Drug Take Back Day set for Saturday, April 28, this is a perfect time to check medicine cabinets, bureau drawers, glove compartments and the deep recesses of purses for expired and unneeded prescription drugs — and deposit them in a drop box near you.

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