Pinal County Attorney, James P. Walsh, and Sheriff Chris Vasquez, working with local law enforcement agencies have begun a program for safe disposal of unused prescription drugs. They are setting up a series of collections around the County where citizens can bring these drugs in for safe disposal. The drugs will be collected and destroyed in a safe manner by the Sheriff’s Department.
A collection point will be set up at the PolarFest Celebration on December 13. 2008, at the Walker Butte School. The hours will be from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Most of us have been to the doctor and been given a prescription which we did not completely use. These drugs accumulate in our homes and medicine chests where they are basically forgotten.
These drugs are now becoming a threat to both the environment and our children. When they are flushed into the sewer they get into the water table where they eventually may wind up in our drinking water. Several studies around the country have found traces of these drugs in the water supply.
Another threat from these drugs arises when teenagers or younger children get access to them. Many of them feel that these drugs will be safe to take because a doctor has prescribed them. Certainly, a doctor would not prescribe something which is not safe to take. They do not understand that there are serious interactions when these drugs are taken which can have serious, if not fatal, consequences. In fact one teenager in Pinal County has died from taking these prescription drugs.
Young people are having “Pharm Parties” or “Skittles Parties” (named for pharmaceuticals and because mixed up the drugs resemble the Skittles candy) in which they all pour the drugs they have obtained into a bowl and then each takes a handful of the mixed drugs. They then take the mixture of random drugs which they have pulled out.
The source of these drugs is the prescriptions which we did not finish and which are readily available to the youth in our homes. Even when we throw them into the trash they are available to those who pick through the trash for drugs and identifying information about us. The trash normally goes to a landfill which repeats the problem of the drugs percolating into the water supply.