Buckley police to host drug disposal bin for health department

Don’t flush those expired pills down the toilet: the Buckley Police Department lobby will soon have a disposal bin for properly dumping outdated and unwanted medication.

The bin will be provided at no charge by the Environmental Health Division of Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. The city’s responsibility is to assure that police 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.

The city is preparing a letter of intent to the Drug Enforcement Administration and a statement of intent was sent Nov. 17 to the Washington State Board of Health. After the 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,” Buckley Mayor Pat Johnson said during the Nov. 9 City Council meeting.

Johnson said one of the biggest drug issues of the day is the abuse of prescription medications, because they are often easy to obtain. Parents who don’t want their kids getting into their expired prescriptions sometimes dump pills 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, and it is designed with security in mind. Users can place waste in the bin, but they 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.

To comment on this story view it online at Reach Daniel Nash at or 360-825-2555 ext. 5060.

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