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Your Health
A Noozhawk partnership with Cottage Health

Sheriff’s Office Collects 9,350 lbs. of Unwanted Meds

During the 2016 calendar year, the Operation Medicine Cabinet (OMC) program operated by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office collected and destroyed 9,352 lbs. of unneeded medications throughout Santa Barbara County.

Over-the-counter and prescription medications are among items that can be deposited in Sheriff’s OMC kiosks. Click to view larger
Over-the-counter and prescription medications are among items that can be deposited in Sheriff’s OMC kiosks. (Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office)

Of that total, 6,182 lbs. of medications were collected at the four South County OMC kiosk locations that include the Carpinteria Sheriff’s Station, Sheriff’s Headquarters, Isla Vista Foot Patrol Station and the Goleta Marketplace storefront station.

A total of 3,170 lbs. of medications were collected at the four North County OMC kiosk locations that include the Solvang Sheriff’s Station, Buellton Police Station, Lompoc Sheriff’s Station and the Santa Maria Sheriff’s Station.

Expired and unused medications pose many risks within our local communities.

Teenagers and young adults can abuse medications they find. Young children and pets can accidentally ingest medications found around the home, leading to potential poisoning. Seniors can mistakenly mix incompatible medications or take expired drugs that may be harmful to them.

Medication that is flushed down the toilet or thrown in the trash can be harmful to the environment. Our wastewater treatment facilities are not designed to handle chemicals often found in medications and oftentimes pass untreated into our water system.

Furthermore, medications that are thrown into the trash can leech into our water table or streams, harming our environment.

The following items are accepted at Sheriff’s Operation Medicine Cabinet kiosks:

Over-the-counter and prescription medications, medication samples, medications for household pets, medicated lotions or ointments, liquid medication only if in leak-proof container.

Medicine should be in its original packaging if possible. Loose pills and powders must be sealed in a Ziploc bag.

Absolutely no sharps of any sort should be placed in the drop-boxes. To do so, jeopardizes the safety of the program and its important mission to safely dispose of medication in Santa Barbara County.

Additionally, the following items cannot be accepted: needles, hazardous waste and medical waste.

The Operation Medicine Cabinet drop-boxes are open 24-hours a day at all Sheriff’s stations. The Sheriff's Offices encourages community members to find the most convenient location.

The Sheriff’s Office began participating in Operation Medicine Cabinet in 2010 and since that time has collected more than 40,000 lbs. of medications. For more information on Operation Medicine Cabinet, visit www.sbsheriff.org.

— Kelly Hoover for Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office.


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