A few weeks ago, I decided that my bathroom cabinets were not “sparking joy” (thanks, Marie Kondo!). Besides the usual crusty nail polish and past-its-prime mascara, I found a collection of accumulated medication. Since some of the old rules of drug disposal had changed, I did some research to discover how I could shed my old meds.Turns out that the solution is simple: drop off expired meds at designated medication drop-off sites near you or participate in a drug take-back event.

The Marshall County Recycle Depot accepts medications year-round from county residents. Bring them all in one container or bring them in their original containers – we will take them in either condition. If you drop them off in their original containers, remove the labels with your personal information.

At the Recycle Depot, we can’t accept narcotics for disposal. If you have opioids or other narcotics, be sure to dispose of these drugs with your local law enforcement agency. These drugs have “street value,” and they can be stolen and sold. Drop off these types of medications along with other non-narcotic prescriptions at the Marshall County Jail, Bremen Town Hall, and Culver Town Hall. All these locations have convenient, clearly marked bins that allow you to drop off your drugs easily and quickly. Once again, remove all your personal information.

You can also drop your meds at drug take-back events. These are held twice a year in April and October, sponsored by the federal Drug Enforcement Association and the Indiana State Police. The next event will be at Walgreens in Plymouth on October 26 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. The Marshall County Sheriff’s Department will be in the parking lot ready to take all your old medications, no questions asked.

The upcoming Marshall County Senior Expo, held at Plymouth High School on October 17th from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m., will also include a drug take-back booth sponsored by the Sheriff’s Department and the Marshall County Recycle Depot. You can drop off your meds on the way into the event.

Over the counter medications should also be taken to a drop-off site if possible. Throwing away or flushing any medication should be your last resort. Their chemically active ingredients are not removed through wastewater treatment plants or septic systems and have been shown to have long-term effects on the environment (and us). The United States Food and Drug Administration advises that, if you have no other recourse, it’s better to flush your medications than keep them around or throw them in the trash, inviting the possibility of theft or poisoning. The USDA website has a list of drugs that they consider “flushable” and a list of drugs that should never be flushed.

One solution to flushing or tossing your meds in the garbage is a Deterra drug deactivation pack available for free at the Recycle Depot, the Marshall County Health Department, and the Life Enrichment Center. These packs contain a material that deactivates and safely seals up the medications so they can be thrown away.

Sharps, such as the needles used by diabetics, must never be thrown in regular trash. We can take them at the Recycle Depot as long as they are in a locked medical waste container or a detergent bottle sealed with heavy tape. Sealed coffee cans or kitty litter pails will also work. Sharps in bags or milk jugs will not be accepted. Containers should only contain sharps—no other types of waste, such as batteries, should be mixed with them. Sealed sharps can also be dropped off at law enforcement agencies.

Here in Marshall County, there are plenty of opportunities to drop off your medications safely and securely. Next time you clean out your medicine cabinet, keep these solutions in mind!

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