NEWS RELEASE

 

October 1, 2009

For Additional Information:

Shelly Houston, Meridian Mayor’s Office

(208) 489-0531

 

City Launches Prescription Drug Drop-Off Program

 

Meridian, ID – (October 1, 2009) – Beginning today, a new Meridian program is offering residents a convenient way to safely dispose of unused prescription and over-the-counter medications. The program, offered through a partnership between the Meridian Mayor’s Anti-Drug Coalition, the Meridian Police Department, and the City of Meridian Wastewater Division, is the first medication drop-off program of its kind in the Treasure Valley.

 

Meridian residents can drop off unused medication, including prescription, over-the-counter, and pet medications, as well as liquid medications in leak-proof containers, at the Meridian Police Department, 1401 E. Watertower, between the hours of 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

 

Meridian Mayor Tammy de Weerd hopes people will embrace the new program. She explains, “When it comes to disposing of prescription drugs, I think most people want to do the right thing, but they’re not exactly sure what that is.” She adds, “We’ll be doing a lot of public outreach to make sure everyone in our community is aware of this program and why it is so important. We’ll also be talking with our local pharmacists and health care workers who are in excellent positions to educate others about this new option for safely and conveniently disposing of unneeded medications.”

 

Prior to this program, people have commonly disposed of leftover medications by throwing them in the trash or flushing them down a sink or toilet. However, rising concerns over the environmental impact of these practices have prompted officials to ask individuals to refrain from these disposal methods.

 

Rich Dees, Utility Operations Manager for the City of Meridian’s Wastewater Division, emphasizes, “Research is showing that personal care products and pharmaceuticals that pass through wastewater treatment plants and end up in our rivers and streams may have a harmful impact on fish and aquatic life.”

 

Other times people simply allow unused medications to accumulate in their medicine cabinets and bureau drawers. However, due to the fact that increasing numbers of youth are turning to prescription drugs as a way to get high, this is also an unwise option.
 

Research has also shown prescription medications to be the drugs of choice for 12 and 13 year olds, even more so than illicit street drugs with the exception of marijuana. Even more troubling is that, according to a 2009 teen survey released by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, nearly nine million 12-17 year olds reported they can get prescription drugs to abuse in one day and nearly five million reported they can get these drugs in one hour.

 

“Let’s face it, most homes have unused or expired prescription drugs in the medicine cabinet, from an old injury, surgery, or dental work. These are dangerous drugs that our children and their friends have easy access to. The drop-off program is good for the environment and may prove to be a lifesaver for our children,” says Elisha Figueroa, Community Services Coordinator, Meridian Police Department.

 

Sharps/needles and infectious waste cannot be accepted , however free sharps containers can be obtained from Sanitary Services Corporation (SSC) in Meridian.

 

For more information about Meridian’s Prescription Drug Drop-Off Program, residents can call Elisha Figeroa at 846-7313.

 

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The City of Meridian is located at the center of the Treasure Valley in southwest Idaho, minutes from the State Capitol. Founded as a farming community in 1893 and incorporated as a city in 1903, Meridian is now one of Idaho’s largest and fastest growing communities. As the home to many young families, Meridian is a vibrant community whose mission is to be a premier city to live, work and raise a family. For more information about Meridian, visit www.meridiancity.org.

 

The Meridian Mayor’s Anti-Drug Coalition, under the motto “Fighting for Our Families,” is a grass-roots volunteer organization dedicated to educating adults and youth about the harmful and costly direct and indirect effects of drug abuse. It was initiated by executive order from Meridian Mayor Tammy de Weerd in January 2004, in response to rising drug use in the valley and the threats it posed to Meridian’s high quality of life.

 

Sanitary Services Co. is the solid waste collection contractor for the City of Meridian. SSC hosts residential hazardous waste collection for its customers each Monday (excluding holidays) from 12:00 -7:00 p.m. in the SSC parking lot located at 2130 W. Franklin Road in Meridian.