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New Drug Drop-Off Boxes Installed at Santa Barbara County Sheriff Stations

New and improved Operation Medicine Cabinet drop-boxes have been installed at eight Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department sites.

“The purpose-built drug collection kiosks are designed to safely accept unneeded and expired medication that is properly packaged for disposal,” the Sheriff’s Department said Monday. 

Bins are now located at Sheriff’s Department station locations between Carpinteria and Santa Maria Valley.

The boxes replace other kiosks that were removed in October in anticipation of the new bins built for the drug disposal program.

Medications that are deposited in the kiosks should be kept in their original packaging if possible. Any loose pills or powders must be sealed within a plastic bag prior to being deposited in an Operation Medicine Cabinet kiosk.

Acceptable items for drug disposal bins are: over-the-counter medications, prescription medications, medication samples, medications for household pets, medicated lotions or ointments, liquid medication only if in leak-proof container. 

Needles, hazardous waste and medical waste should not be placed in the boxes.

Inappropriate items can jeopardize sheriff’s personnel and could affect the agency’s ability to continue the program that allows community members to safely dispose of medication, said Kelly Hoover, spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s Department.

Experts say community kiosks for drug disposal are valuable ways to keep expired and unused medications from falling into the hands of teenagers and young adults.

New Operation Medicine Cabinet drop-off boxes have been installed at Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department stations for the public to dispose of unwanted and expired medications. Click to view larger
New Operation Medicine Cabinet drop-off boxes have been installed at Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department stations for the public to dispose of unwanted and expired medications.  (Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department)

The Sheriff’s Office began participating in Operation Medicine Cabinet in 2010 and since then has collected more than 30,000 pounds of no-longer-needed medications, Hoover said.

Young children and pets also can accidentally ingest medications found around the home, leading to potential poisoning.

Seniors citizens can mistakenly mix incompatible medications or take expired drugs that may be harmful to them.  

Disposing of medications in the boxes is preferable to flushing them down the toilet or thrown in the trash. Wastewater treatment facilities are not designed to handle material often found in medications therefore they pass untreated into the water system, authorities said.

Medications thrown in the trash can be picked up by individuals and pets when sent to the landfill and can potentially enter the environment. 

The Operation Medicine Cabinet drop boxes are open 24 hours a day and are located at the following sheriff stations:

» Santa Barbara at 4434 Calle Real 

» Goleta at 7042 Market Place Dr.

» Isla Vista at 6504 Trigo Rd.

» Lompoc at 3500 Harris Grade 

» Buellton at 140 W. Highway 246 

» Solvang at 1745 Mission Dr.

» Santa Maria at 812-A West Foster Rd.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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