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Health eTips is produced by the staff of the St. Charles County Department of Public Health. The department consists of three divisions - Environmental Health and Protection, Health Services and Humane Services - that provide a wide range of services focused on enhancing the well-being of this community.

If you have questions about the Department of Public Health or have suggestions on public health topics you'd like to see explored in this blog, please email us.

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Sep 20

Disposing Medications

Posted on September 20, 2017 at 10:26 AM by Doug Bolnick


Although beneficial, medications can be harmful to people, animals and the environment when not cared for properly. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) notes that non-medical use of prescription drugs ranks second to marijuana as the most common form of drug abuse in the United States. In addition to people, thousands of pets are poisoned each year by ingesting medications, and fish display developmental damage in waterways that have been dirtied by flushed medications.

Disposing of Prescription or Over-The-Counter Medications
When used by someone other than for whom they are prescribed, of if they’ve gone beyond their expiration date, these medications can become a public safety issue. To help residents properly dispose of unwanted or expired medications (both prescription and over-the-counter), the lobby of the St. Charles County Police Department (101 Sheriff Dierker Court in O’Fallon) now features a collection kiosk.
Prescription Kiosk clip

If you’d like to properly dispose of unwanted medications through the Police Department kiosk or other collection areas in our community, please follow these steps:
  1. Keep the medication in its original container.
  2. Remove or blacken out all personal information, but leave the name and dosage of the medication visible.
  3. Place the medication in the disposal kiosk and ensure that the container is closed properly.

Disposing of "Sharps"
In addition to pills, those who take blood thinners or treat chronic diseases like diabetes with injections must properly dispose of their needles. Follow these suggestions for disposing of “sharps” for personal use:
  1. Place the used needles in a heavy-duty, puncture resistant container (such as a sharps container obtained from a pharmacy or medical professional, a plastic detergent bottle or an empty bleach bottle). DO NOT use milk jugs, coffee cans or glass bottles for this waste, as they may break or be punctured.
  2. Add one teaspoon of bleach to the filled container.
  3. Close the lid securely and wrap the lid with duct tape.
  4. Write “Medical Waste” on the container.
  5. Dispose of the container with your trash. DO NOT place with recyclables.

C.R.U.S.H. Prescription Drug Abuse
To learn more about St. Charles County's efforts to minimize the abuse of prescription medications and stop the opioid epidemic, please visit the CRUSH website.

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Seatbelt use by family