Arcata Police Department Installs Medication Disposal Cabinet

This is a press release from the Arcata Police Department:

Arcata Police Department is proud to announce the installation of a medication disposal cabinet located in the lobby of APD. The KidCents program and the Rite Aid Foundation provide grants to local law enforcement agencies to purchas medication disposal units to ensure that individuals can safely dispose of unwanted medications in an environmentally-friendly manner, while keeping them out of the hands of kids and teens. Arcata Police Department staff applied for this grant and the grant application was approved.

The U.S. is facing mounting issues surrounding drug addiction and drug overdoses.  These drug related issues present serious threats to the health, safety and well-being of the citizens of our communities.  APD would like to offer the community a safe and easy place to dispose of prescription medications. Citizens will have access to the cabinet to discard unwanted or expired prescriptions rather than discarding in landfills or down toilets.

The medication disposal cabinet is located inside the police department lobby at 736 F St, Arcata. Medications can be dropped off any time during business hours Monday through Friday 9am to 5pm. The following items are not accepted in the cabinet:

  • Illegal drugs
  • Needles
  • Lotions or liquids
  • Inhalers
  • Aerosol Cans
  • Thermometers
  • Hydrogen Peroxide


  • What harm, exactly, comes from disposing of medications in the landfill? It’s not like they’re any more dangerous than many other things that go there, and that’s probably where the bin gets emptied anyway…

    EDIT: After 20 minutes of googling, I’ve learned… that there’s a distinct lack of useful information online, and thousands of copy-and-pasted useless generic blurbs.

    Best I can tell, the claimed issue with disposing in the landfill is that they might not make it to the landfill – people might rummage through your trash and find them, either in front of your house or at the waste disposal facilities. This seems like an exceedingly minor source of drugs compared to everywhere else they’re available.

    Another issue is for landfills where liquids are separated out and treated at a sewage disposal plant, some percentage may end up in water – but that doesn’t apply to most landfills, and the amount is small.

    As to what happens to the drugs you put in the bins, best information I could find is they either get incinerated, which is ideal but rare, or they get mixed with some glop that makes the drugs hard to recover and dumped in the nearest landfill. And I suspect the first step of that gets skipped a lot more often than not.

    So… This doesn’t seem very useful.

    • i think the important part is that people dont flush them in the toilet. i also think that it is just a way to prosecute people if they have expired drugs. like if i have an old bottle of ibuprofen (obviously harder drugs) now they can say why didnt you deposit it in the proper place when it expired

    • It’s a box with a lock on it. Not a huge expense.

  • A better way to “protect kids”, is to not take drugs, drink alcohol, smoke tobacco or weed, and not use prescription medication. If you can, don’t ever let your children see you engage in this behavior!

    Parents who take drugs, have children who take drugs!

    Break the cycle! If you need help, Alcoholics Anon and Narcotics Anon have helped for millions, and there is an excellent inpatient rehab at St Helena Hospital, which often treats people who can’t afford to pay.

    Try it! AND: If you can’t get what you need in Humboldt, or if you just can’t escape the pull of addiction, you can always try another part of the country. Don’t give up!

    • the kids that did the worst in my town where the kids of parents with a locked liquor cabinet. many kids with addicts as parents are somewhat jaded by the crazy shit that repeatedly occurred in their childhood. the best solution is accurate education, not the lying conservative version.

  • “Myth #5 – There is no reason why unwanted medicines cannot be put in landfills.

    Fact: Modern landfills are well-designed, safe, and handle standard household waste well. However, medicines are a special type of hazardous chemical that we need to keep out of our solid waste system and landfills to prevent harm to people and the environment. Drugs can be very toxic for people and wildlife, even in low doses. Just as we do not put used motor oil or leftover paint thinner in the trash, we should not put these extremely potent pharmaceutical chemicals into unsecured curbside trash cans.

    How can medicines thrown in the garbage get into the environment? Unwanted drugs are still chemically active when they are thrown in the trash, even if mixed with kitty litter or coffee grounds. Several studies have shown that medicines in a landfill can be released to the local environment through the landfill liquid – or “garbage juice” – that may be collected and sent to wastewater treatment plants. Because wastewater treatment plants are not designed to remove medicines, drugs may be discharged to rivers and bays.

    Unwanted medicines should be disposed of properly like other household hazardous wastes. Medicine take-back programs are the best way to dispose of unwanted medicine.”

  • And,

    Even treated water has traces of the drugs which were excreted and/or dumped.

    Hormones (birth control pills), heart drugs (dilantin, digoxin) and many others including Cocaine and Methamphetamine, anti depressants, anti-psychotics, and including THC, are present in ordinary H2O.

  • I think it’s a great idea- it could keep junkies from throwing the used needles over fences into people’s yards (yes, this happens) or leaving them in parking lots where kids and dogs can get stabbed by them.

    BUT…. Just how many junkies do you think will saunter into a police station with a bunch of dirty needles to dispose of them? I mean, is this a serious effort?

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