(Okay, I figured I had to write something positive about services offered by Walnut Creek's city government, following my most recent rant on the city's "mercenary parking meter practices.")
Anyway, the city, in conjuction with the Central Contra Costa Sanitary District and the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Department, has set up a box at City Hall, 1666 North Main Street, where people can dispose of their unused and outdated medications on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Why it is important for us to not just pour these medications down the drain or flush them down the toilet?
Either method for disposing of pharmaceuticals poses "a serious health concern," the sanitary district says. "Either method can allow medications to make their way into regional water sources by passing through wastewater treatment plants." The drop-off program, which also includes two drop-off sites in Martinez (addresses listed below), can "alleviate some of that pollution."
This program can also keep seniors and youths safe. With regard to seniors, disposing of unwanted, outdated medications "decreases the likelihood of anyone taking a wrong or outdated medication by mistake." As for kids and teenagers, Contra Costa Sheriff Warren Rupf says: "Removing unwanted medications from the homes of our citizens will greatly reduce the risk of abuse by our youth and safeguard the public health."
Here are the locations of the drop-off centers in Martinez and basic rules to follow.
--Contra Costa Regional Medical Center Sheriff’s Substation 2500 Alhambra Avenue
--Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Field Operations Building, 1980 Muir Road
To drop off old pharmaceuticals, medications may be bagged (pills can be placed in a sealed baggie). Liquid containers should be sealed in a plastic bag to prevent spills. Items not accepted include needles, lancets, pen needles, or any other "sharps," aerosol cans, bloody or infectious wastes, hydrogen peroxide, thermometers, and IV bags.
For more information, call (800) 646-1431 or visit the Central Sanitary District's website.