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Renville County, Minn., drug take-back yields 133 lbs., sheriff says "good start"

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OLIVIA -- Renville County Sheriff Scott Hable is calling last Saturday's medication take-back initiative in Renville County "an excellent start."

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"After the four-hour collection window at six collection sites across Renville County, deputies and officers collected a combined total of 133 pounds of unused, unwanted medication," Hable said in a news release. "While that is a huge amount of medication and an excellent start, we believe that we may have only scratched the surface. We know that for one reason or another, many people weren't able to get to a collection site on that particular day."

The medications collected during the take-back initiative will be taken to an incinerator where they will be destroyed. Incineration is thought to be the only safe method of disposal of pharmaceuticals. Experts say that flushing pills down the toilet is not recommended because wastewater treatment facilities do not remove the active drug ingredients from the water. Likewise, throwing unused medication in the trash results in that medicine ending up in the landfill, which can also contaminate water. Retaining excess medications in the home can result in those drugs being stolen and ending up on the street. Further, unused medication in the home can result in accidental poisonings of children.

With support from Renville County Public Health, Renville County Water and Household Hazardous Waste and the RAPAD Coalition, the Sheriff's Office has now launched a permanent medication disposal program and has a collection container available at the County Office Building in Olivia. It is available 24 hours a day and is free for Renville County residents to use.

"Many thanks to the residents who turned out to dispose of their medications on Saturday. If you couldn't make it to a collection site for that event, please bring your expired or unused medications to our collection container in Olivia," concluded Hable. "We look forward to safely disposing of those drugs for you."

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