Pitkin County Healthy Rivers is using the momentum of the National Drug Take-Back Day campaign to remind the public about the environmental impact that improperly disposed of medications and vitamins can have if they find their way into the watershed and our drinking water.
“Improper drug disposal, like flushing them down the toilet, can negatively impact the ecosystem in our local streams and rivers,” said Chad Rudow, Water Quality Coordinator for Roaring Fork Conservancy. “Not to mention that medications flushed into our rivers and streams can also find their way into our drinking water,” Rudow said.
There are only two official locations for unused drug drop off in the Roaring Fork Valley. One is at the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office in the Pitkin County Courthouse. The other is in the Glenwood Springs Police Department. The public is encouraged to discard unused, expired, or unwanted drugs at these locations Monday through Friday during regular business hours.
Rudow points out that municipalities in the Roaring Fork Valley get their drinking water from a variety of sources, many of which include local streams and rivers. In some cases, the Roaring Fork and Colorado rivers are the source and are directly affected by upstream water quality, including such impacts as improper drug disposal.
“Every day can be Drug Take-Back Day,” said Bill Jochems, Chairman of the Pitkin County Healthy Rivers Board. “We want the public to be sensitive to the fact that whatever we do upstream can flow into waterways downstream and not only impact our fish but the water we consume. It’s easy to gather up your medications from time to time and drop them in the local boxes,” Jochems said.
Local pharmacies between Aspen and El Jebel have agreed to join the effort by Pitkin County Healthy Rivers by attaching notices about drug drop off locations on every prescription they fill.
Drug take back drop off boxes in the Roaring Fork Valley are located at the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office in the Pitkin County Courthouse and at the Glenwood Springs Police Department.
Contact: Pat Bingham, Pitkin County Community Relations, 970-319-6634.