October 27 is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day and Mesa County residents are encouraged to get rid of their unwanted or expired medications at one of several locations to keep Mesa County kids and adults from misusing them.

Take Back Locations in Mesa County include:

  • Canyon View Pharmacy, 2373 G Road, Suite 120 in Grand Junction,
    • Canyon View Pharmacy does not accept liquid medications or syringes.
  • St. Mary’s Medical Center, 2635 N. 7th St. in Grand Junction,
    • St. Mary’s Medical Center accepts liquid medications in small quantities, in a non-leaking original container and does not accept syringes.
  • Walgreens, 240 W. Park Dr. in Grand Junction, and
    • Walgreens does not accept liquid medications or syringes.
  • The De Beque Marshal’s Office, 380 Curtis Ave. in De Beque.
    • The De Beque Marshal’s Office does not accept liquid medications or syringes.

Please note these locations will take back medications all year, not just on October 27.

Sixteen percent of Mesa County high school students report ever using prescription pain medication without a doctor’s prescription. Another study showed half of the people who said they misused prescription pain relievers reported obtaining the medication from a friend or relative for free. Approximately five percent of people reported taking medication from a friend or relative without asking.

“It’s so important to talk with your kids about risky behaviors including drug abuse. Open conversation is key, but removing unwanted and expired medications from your home and disposing of them properly is one more defense against drug abuse in Mesa County,” Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) Epidemiology Program Manager Heidi Dragoo said.

Keep these tips in mind as you dispose of unwanted or expired medications:

  • Keep your medicines in the bottle when you return them.
    • Don’t crush your medicine – doing so can create a dangerously high dose that could accidentally be taken in through skin contact or breathing.
  • If you can’t get to a take back location or have a liquid medication to dispose of, follow these steps:
    • Remove the label or cross out any identifying information on the container.
    • Mix the medicine with something that can’t be eaten – like kitty litter, coffee grounds or saw dust – in a sealable bag, empty can or other container that won’t leak.
    • Wrap that container in newspaper or a plain brown bag to conceal its contents and place it into your trash on the day your trash is collected.
  • Remember, flushing your medications or throwing them down the drain or in the trash aren’t safe options.
    • Medicine isn’t always completely cleaned from our water at the sewage treatment plant. Medications you flush or toss into your drain could end up polluting our waters, hurting our environment or harming our food and water supply.
    • Human medicine is the leading cause of pet poisonings and those frequently happen when pets find medications in the garbage.