The lobby of the Alameda Police Department administration building at 1555 Oak Street is now host to a disposal bin for expired and unused medication.
Provided in partnership with Alameda County Environmental Health and East Bay Municipal Utility District, the bin is accessible from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. daily.
In recent years, studies have shown that the practice of flushing medications down the toilet has resulted in the contamination of drinking water supplies as waste water is treated and released back to the environment.
Last February, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors passed the Alameda County Safe Drug Disposal ordinance, which requires producers of prescription and nonprescription drugs to develop programs to collect and dispose of unwanted medications held by the public.
The County cited the accidental poisoning of children and elders for medications in the home, abuse of prescription painkillers by teens, and the expense of treating wastewater to eliminate drugs as justification for the ordinance.
“We want to give our residents a safe, secure location where they can properly dispose of their prescription medications. Not only are there environmental concerns, we also don’t want dangerous prescription drugs ending up in the hands of our children,” said Chief of Police Michael Noonan.
Police say that unused pills and capsules should be placed in a sealed plastic bag and that empty pill bottles should be recycled at home; this helps protect individuals’ privacy and preserves space in the disposal bin.
Liquids should stay in their original containers with the labels removed or blacked-out.
Residents should deposit no vitamins, needles, batteries, thermometers, or illegal drugs in the bin. (Vitamins can be thrown into the trash.)