Recent news article in the Canyon Courier - Reprinted
Free service handles disposal of no-longer-needed drugs
By: Vicky Gits—Tuesday, March 20, 2012 at 1:06 pm
Finding a place to properly dispose of unused medications no longer has to be such a hassle,
thanks to a free disposal drop box recently installed in the pharmacy department at the King
Soopers in Bergen Park.
The drop-box service is being funded by Evergreen Rotary as part of the statewide Colorado
Medication Take Back Project, which so far has 12 locations, including nine on the Front Range
and two in Summit County.
Evergreen resident and Rotary member Joyce Williams had been very involved in the program
since 2007 as a unit leader for hazardous-waste compliance and enforcement with the Colorado
Department of Public Health. She has since retired.
"The way it works is, people can take all their over-the-counter medicines and prescriptions,
except controlled substances," Williams said. One box can hold 20 gallons, or about 40 pounds,
of meds. So far 17,000 pounds of drug material have been diverted through the program since it
was launched in December 2009.
It is generally well known that a large quantity of powerful medications is finding its way into the
nation's drinking water and streams, through disposal as well as through human ingestion and
The chemicals, such as antibiotics, antidepressants and sex hormones, can have damaging
effects on human cells and wildlife, according to research by the Associated Press’ national
investigative team. Most water providers don't test drinking water for pharmaceuticals, and they
aren't removed by conventional filtering processes.
Reasons to dispose of meds
Unused meds also can be a source of accidental poisoning for young children and an
opportunity for experimentation among teens.
The drop box is set up like a mailbox and weighs 300 pounds. Objects enter and drop down into
an area that has two locks on it. The pharmacy has one key, and the disposal service has the
other. When the box is full, the pharmacist calls a collection service, Curbside Inc., which takes
the material to Kimball, Neb., for incineration.
Williams started working on the drop-box idea in 2007 and finally got the boxes installed in
2010. She said the hardest part was getting stores to take responsibility for boxes.
"Kroger has been the only vendor. We talked to Walmart, Walgreens and Safeway, and no oneelse would assume the liability," Williams said.
There are various other programs, such as the drug roundup sponsored by the Drug
Enforcement Administration once a year. This year the DEA’s National Drug Take Back Initiativeis April 28.
Locations of drug drop boxes
(all at King Soopers)
City Market in Breckenridge
Denver Health, Denver
Tri-County Health, Commerce City
Tri-County Health, Englewood
Prescription medication (except narcotics or controlled substances)
Liquid medication in glass or leak-proof containers
Medicated ointments and lotions
Narcotics and other controlled substances
Infectious or bloody waste
Source: Colorado Medication Take-Back Pilot Project