Pima County recognized for program disposing of prescription drugsby Pima County News on Jan. 09, 2013, under Board of Supervisors, Health, Pima County, Public safety, Southern Arizona, Tucson, Uncategorized
A Pima County program was recognized Tuesday for its role in helping to fight prescription drug abuse and keeping the aquifer clean.
The Dispose-A-Med program received a Common Ground Award by the Metropolitan Pima Alliance for the best program or event benefitting the County. Organizers were recognized by the Pima County Board of Supervisors Jan. 8.
With support from the Pima County Regional Wastewater Reclamation and Health Departments, and oversight from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the program operated by the Pima County Sheriff’s Department collects and incinerates unwanted prescription drugs.
That way, the medication doesn’t fall into the wrong hands or get flushed into the sewer system, where the miniscule doses of chemicals can elude even sophisticated treatment systems.
Considering 800 pills weigh about a pound, “that’s a tremendous amount of drugs being taken off the street,” said Lt. Jim Berry of the Sheriff’s Department.
Pima County Public Health Director Francisco Garcia credited the program with tackling a significant public health issue, noting that in the past 20 years, prescription drug deaths have tripled in the country.
He lauded the multi-departmental approach taken. “We have to work across disciplines and across silos to accomplish important public health goals – and this program is an effective example of that.”
Dr. Garcia said recycling unused medication is not an option since drug policy prevents diverting to another person any medication that was prescribed to another individual. The Dispose-A-Med program remains the best option, he said.
If you are interested in obtaining more information about sponsoring an event, please call the Pima County Sheriff’s Department Community Resource Office at 351-4615.
To obtain information about the 2013 schedule, please visit http://www.pimasheriff.org/department-services/other-services/dispos-a-med/