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Palmdale and Lancaster sheriff's stations start 'Safe Drug Drop-off' program [Updated]

November 19, 2009 |  2:08 pm

Drug Drop-Off Program 001 Starting today, Palmdale and Lancaster residents can safely dispose of expired or unused prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, syringes and other controlled substances by dropping them off at special “narcotics mailboxes” at their local sheriff's station.

[Updated at 2:29 p.m.: The Lancaster sheriff's station also started a program. This post previously mentioned only Palmdale.

“The intent is to give people the opportunity to dispose of these dangerous drugs for whatever reason without having to do something that endangers people or endangers the environment,” said Lancaster Station Capt. Axel Anderson.

Lancaster Station is at 501 W. Lancaster Blvd.]

The initiative is part of a “Safe Drug Drop-off” program that originated at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Lomita Station, law enforcement officials said in a statement. The pilot program was announced by Sheriff Lee Baca in September. The goal is to protect aquatic wildlife from being harmed when medicines are flushed down the drain.

Because wastewater treatment plants are unable to test for pharmaceuticals, or treat their negative effects, “the drugs end up in our rivers, streams, lakes, groundwater systems and oceans,” the officials said

They also noted that unused and expired medications could be used illegally if they fall into the wrong hands, and that children could gain access to the narcotics if they are left in home medicine cabinets. The drugs could be used inappropriately or sold, the officials added.

“This is just another tack Palmdale Station is using in an overall approach to keep these harmful items off our streets and out of our children’s hands,” the station's Capt. Bobby D. Denham said in the statement.

Residents can anonymously place the medications and narcotics in one of three designated white mailboxes in the front parking lot of Palmdale Station, 750 East Avenue Q.

-- Ann M. Simmons

Photo: Mailboxes where Palmdale residents can drop off unused medicines. Credit: L.A. County Sheriff's Department