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Park Hills Police participate in drug take back program

This year, the Park Hills Police Department will be participating in the prescription drug take back program this month along with the Missouri Rural Water Association and other agencies.

Their prescription drug take back program will be held from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 29 at the Park Hills Police Department, located at 8 Municipal Drive. The drugs will be incinerated by the DEA.

Other agencies are also participating. Unused prescriptions can be dropped off at local USA Drug stores.

Throughout the year, individuals can drop off unused pills at the police department during business hours. Park Hills city residents who are without transportation can call Central Dispatch at 573-431-3131 to have an officer pick up the unused medications.

Prescription drug abuse is a serious problem in the area and leaving the unused medications around the house could endanger children who are tempted to experiment, and it could leave your home more at risk for being burglarized.

Prescription pills are harmful to the water supply and the environment.

The Missouri Rural Water Association is working in conjunction with drinking water utilities and police departments around the state to lessen the environmental impact of pharmaceuticals.

National research indicates that 46 million Americans consume water contaminated with prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Missouri was one of 24 states where water samples from underground aquifers were tested and found to contain pharmaceuticals.

If thrown away with the trash, it makes its way into a landfill where these pills and other medications can leach into the ground. They can contaminate underground aquifers, which provide drinking water for communities and individuals.

If flushed down the toilet, the pill goes to a private septic tank or a centralized wastewater collection system. The septic tank, like the landfill, potentially allows medications to contaminate ground water sources. The centralized wastewater system returns its treated water back to receiving streams and tributaries. These treatment facilities, with today’s technology, are unable to remove pharmaceuticals from water.

The only way to properly dispose of unused drugs is to incinerate them.

“We know how to prevent this type of contamination from occurring,” said Brad Rayburn of Missouri Rural Water Association. “We have to start by developing new habits. Proper disposal of drugs is a key.”

Research is inconclusive regarding the health effects to humans that these pharmaceuticals in our drinking water supplies will have. Some scientists fear that these drugs could be the reason for high occurrences of infertility, early puberty and breast cancer in the county, among other medical maladies. Other scientists fear the creation of a super drug-resistant strain of bacteria.

What is known is that fish have developed physical abnormalities in waterways where many of these pharmaceuticals are found. Fish have been born blind and dead; some with extra appendages and others with altered sexual reproductive organs.

Since the inception of the drug take back programs in 2010, more than 500 tons of pharmaceuticals have been collected nationwide.

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