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Turn in Unused Medications – for Safety and the Environment

The El Cerrito and Kensington police departments will accept unneeded prescription drugs on "Drug Take-Back Day" Saturday, and a Bay Area anti-pollution group launched an initiative to keep drugs out of the sewage system, landfills and waterwa

The El Cerrito and Kensington police departments are joining local law enforcement agencies around the country Saturday, Sept. 29, for national Drug Take-Bay Day.

The event, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., is intended "give the public another opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs," according to an announcement from El Cerrito police.

The El Cerrito medication drop-off will be held in the parking lot just north of 10936 San Pablo Ave., which is the address of church next to the main fire station. 

The Kensington take-back will be at the police headquarters at 217 Arlington Ave., according to the Drug Take-Back locator on the U.S. Department of Drug Enforcement website.

"Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs," El Cerrito police said. "Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet."

Also an environmental health issue

Meanwhile the Bay Area Pollution Prevention Group has launched a "No Drugs Down the Drain" campaign urging residents to dispose of medications properly rather than dumping them down the sink, toilet or sewer grates.

Scientific research shows that "pharmaceutical concentrations in the environment are having a negative impact on fish and wildlife," according a recent press release about the organization's initiative.

Residents are urged to access www.Baywise.org to find the nearest location where drugs can be properly discarded on an on-going basis. The locator shows, for example, that the El Cerrito Recycling Center accepts pharmaceuticals during its regular hours.

"Pharmaceutical products are entering our streams and water supply, and doing harm to the environment," Jared Blumenfeld, EPA's Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest, said in a statement. "Our state and local partners are providing options for residents to properly dispose of unwanted medicines safely and not flush them down the drain."

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