LEESBURG — The Lake County Department of Environmental Utilities is encouraging residents to start cleaning out their medicine cabinets of all unwanted or expired ingestible medicines, vitamins or cough syrups and prepare to take them for environmentally sensitive disposal at the “Operation Medicine Cabinet” event on Thursday, March 18, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. The Lake County Sheriff’s Office will be assisting by providing a uniformed deputy to collect medication for disposal.
Offering easy drive-through disposal, the “Operation Medicine Cabinet” will take place on March 18 at the Target Annex parking lot of the Lake Square Mall, located at 10401 U.S. Highway in Leesburg.
“Many people are unaware of the potential hazards of abuse and misuse of prescription and non-prescription medicine that exist in their home medicine cabinets,” said Johnny Taylor, Lake County’s Hazardous Waste Coordinator. “Instead of disposing old pills or liquids down the toilet or sink, sharing them with a friend or throwing them in the garbage, the Operation Medicine Cabinet events give residents an opportunity to dispose of unwanted or expired medicines properly.”
If unwanted or expired medicines are disposed of down a toilet or sink, the pharmaceutical chemicals enter surface waters and groundwater through several pathways. Studies suggest disposing of medications down the toilet or sink contaminates water supplies and endangers aquatic life in lakes, rivers and streams. Wastewater facilities are not designed to remove pharmaceuticals.
“Operation Medicine Cabinet” also aims to remove unwanted or expired controlled prescription medications, especially pain relievers. Controlled substances can only be turned in to law enforcement agencies due to regulations of the chain of custody. All disposals of controlled prescription medications at “Operation Medicine Cabinet” will be anonymous with no questions asked. Remember, as with any unattended chemical or poison, the safe and proper disposal of unused and unwanted medicine prevents the accidental ingestion by animals or children.
Not included in “Operation Medicine Cabinet” is infectious waste, photographic chemicals, solvents, wastes with a high content of heavy metals (e.g. mercury and cadmium), chemical laboratory wastes or radioactive waste.
For more information about “Operation Medicine Cabinet,” call the Lake County Department of Environmental Utilities at (352) 343-3776.