'Take it to THE BOX' medication disposal program begins fourth year
Carlton County's safe medication disposal program "Take it to THE BOX" is beginning its fourth year in operation. More than 1,000 pounds of unwanted pharmaceuticals have been collected and properly disposed of since the program began in 2011.
The Take it to THE BOX program consists of three drop-off boxes for unwanted medications located in the lobbies of the Carlton County Sheriff's Office, City of Cloquet Police Department, and City of Moose Lake Police Department. The drop boxes are safe, secure, and anonymous. A law enforcement officer transports the collected medications to an incinerator. This is the safest and most preferred method of pharmaceutical disposal.
Carlton County Sheriff Kelly Lake explains, "With this program in place, we have been able to properly dispose of unwanted medications, reducing the risk of burglaries, thefts, and abuse of these drugs, and at the same time have created a way to keep our environment safe."
Flushing is no longer a recommended method of medication disposal. Research has found medications, hormones and personal care products in rivers and streams around the country. These materials cannot be removed during the wastewater treatment process. Therefore, keeping them out of the water in the first place is an imperative step citizens can take.
Proper disposal of unwanted medication also reduces the chances of accidental poisoning and abuse. A report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration estimates there are more than 7 million people abusing prescription drugs in the U.S.
"In 2011, only a few counties in the state had unwanted medication disposal programs. Today, there are 145 permanent drop-off locations across the state," stated Zoning and Environmental Services Administrator Heather Cunningham. "The growth in such a short amount of time shows how effective and needed a safe medication disposal program like Take it to THE BOX is."
Carlton County residents can Take it to THE BOX and bring their unwanted medicines to three convenient drop-box locations:
- Carlton County Sheriff's Office, 317 Walnut Ave., Carlton, MN 55718; (218) 384-3236; 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- City of Cloquet Police Department, 508 Cloquet Ave., Cloquet, MN 55720; (218) 879-1247; 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday-Friday.
- City of Moose Lake Police Department, 600 Highway 73, Moose Lake, MN 55767; (218) 485-8404; 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday-Friday.
Medication should be kept in original containers. Remove your name, address and any other identifying information, but leave the name of the medication. Drop the medication into the disposal box opening. No needles, syringes or thermometers. Household medications only. No medication from businesses can be accepted.
Area residents with questions about the program should call Karola Dalen, Carlton County resource and recycling coordinator, at (218) 384-9178.