Buckley Police Department will have drug drop-off bin

Don't flush those expired pills down the toilet: the lobby off Buckley's police department will soon have a disposal bin for properly dumping outdated, unwanted and controlled drugs.

The disposal unit will be provided by the Environmental Health division of Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department on the condition that the police department provide staffing and resources for collecting the substances, for recording disposals by weight to be reported to the health department, and transporting the materials to the health department for disposal.

As of this writing, the city is preparing a letter of intent to the Drug Enforcement Administration. A statement of intent was sent to the Washington state Board of Health, Nov. 17. Once that paperwork is processed, the city will start using the bin once the health department delivers it. Arrival is expected sometime in December.

"The health department is starting this program because of problems from people flushing their medications down the toilet," Mayor Pat Johnson said at the Nov. 9 city council meeting.

Johnson said one of the biggest drug issues of the day was abuse of prescription medications, due to their easy obtainability. Parents who don't want their kids to get into their expired prescriptions may dump them down the toilet as a solution, inadvertently contaminating the local water supply, she said.

Pharmaceuticals disposed of through the bin will be safely incinerated.

The bin will be placed inside the police department lobby for safe monitoring, but it is designed with the security of its contents in mind. Most notably, users can place waste in the bin, but they physically cannot take it out.

Items safe to drop in the bin include controlled substances, over-the-counter medications, prescription medications, sample medications, veterinary medications, vitamins, medicated ointments or lotions, inhalers and liquid medication in glass.

Items unsafe to drop in the bin include needles, thermometers, intravenous bags, bloody or infectious waste, personal care products, hydrogen peroxide, empty containers and business waste.

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