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Ramsey County Opens Medicine Drop-Off Sites

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(credit: CBS)

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – Ramsey County said they’ll take your unused prescription or over-the-counter drugs sitting in your medicine cabinet.

“A national survey shows there are currently 7 million people using prescription drugs or abusing prescription drugs,” said Zach Hansen, Environmental Health Director for Ramsey County.

On Monday, Ramsey County opened two locations to drop-off unused medicine and pet medication that could pose a potential threat.

One location is at Law Enforcement Center on 425 Grove Street in St. Paul, the other is at the Arden Hills Sheriff’s Patrol Station on 1411 Paul Kirkwold Drive.

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The sites are a partnership between Ramsey County Health and the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department. Their goal is crime prevention and environmental protection.

“If people have them in their home, there’s the potential that they can be taken unintentionally and used in drug abuse,” said Hansen.

Hansen said prescription and over-the-counter drug abuse is a growing problem, especially among teens. He said each day about 2,500 teens experiment with prescription medicine for the first time.

“Behind marijuana, it is the next most commonly used abused drug by teenagers,” said Hansen.

This is not the first time Ramsey County opened a drug drop-off site. Last year during the Minnesota State Fair they had such high demand they thought a permanent location would be good.

“Chisago County has been doing it for a couple of years and has noted reductions in rural area drug abuse,” said Hansen.

Officers will collect the drugs to be incinerated. In the past, people have been told to flush prescription or over-the-counter drugs down the toilet. Hansen said that is no longer a good idea.

“If people flush them down the toilet they’ll go right through a wastewater treatment system and then they end up in lakes and streams,” said Hansen. “There they can affect fish and wildlife.”

Both locations will be open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. year-round.

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