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Collection Box for Expired Medications

A safe way to dispose of unwanted or expired medications is now available in Georgetown on a year-round basis. A secure medications collection box is located in the lobby of the Public Safety Operations and Training Center at 3500 DB Wood Road. Lobby hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The Georgetown Police Department is the first police station in Williamson County to offer controlled substance collection via a collection box.

Collecting unwanted drugs keeps them from being poured down a drain, flushed down a toilet, or put in the household trash. Pharmaceuticals put in our wastewater system can affect water quality and aquatic life in our creeks, rivers, and lakes.

Gary Hertel with Texas Disposal Systems explains why medications shouldn’t be put in household trash. “If a customer throws medications in the trash, that trash is put into large 18-wheeler trailers here in Georgetown and hauled to the landfill,” says Hertel. “In that process at the transfer station, if it’s raining or we have more water in the waste, those items can leach out into the drainage system and it winds up in the sewer system.”

Removing unwanted prescriptions from your home also reduces the risk of overdose or misuse by someone in your home. “Williamson County is not immune to the drug abuse problem,” says Rosana Sielaff with LifeSteps Council on Alcohol and Drugs. “Children are accessing drugs from the medicine cabinet in their own home or in the homes of friends or grandparents. We are very happy to see this permanent drop-off box, because we know that we need a place here that the community can bring their unused or expired medication,” says Sielaff.

Last year more than 1,200 pounds of medications in were collected in Georgetown in Drug Take-Back Day events sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Agency.

When the collection box is full, it is shipped to a location in Texas where the medications are incinerated, according to Jordan Fengel, solid waste and recycling coordinator for the City of Georgetown. “The medicines are destroyed. So we completely eliminate the environmental hazard and concern.”

The medications drop box is for unwanted or expired prescription medicines, over-the-counter drugs, supplements, or pet medicines. Items not accepted in the collection box include thermometers, needles, syringes, IV fluids, medical devices, or illegal drugs. Medications cannot be accepted from businesses such as nursing homes, doctor’s offices, or other institutions or businesses.

The medications collection box was funded by a solid waste management grant from the Capital Area Council of Governments.

For additional program information, go to the City of Georgetown website at recycle.georgetown.org/medsdropbox.

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