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Got Drugs?

STOCKTON, CA- San Joaquin County provided a safe method of disposal for accumulated unwanted, expired prescription drugs on Saturday, April 28, 2012 with the Department of Public Safety at the University of the Pacific as part of a National Take-Back Initiative.

Photo courtesy of the San Joaquin County Public Works Department

“Pharmaceuticals have become a source for recreational drug users, especially young people. Expired medications lose potency, which may pose a serious risk for the user. If a doctor changes a prescription, the old ones [pharmaceuticals] can be accidently taken.” says Elisa Moberly, Management Analyst at the San Joaquin County Public Works Department.

The other four locations—the Police Department of Lodi, Manteca, Ripon and the Tracy City Hall—for disposal throughout San Joaquin County were also available to the public.

Photo courtesy of the San Joaquin County Public Works Department

Many people toss expired or unused medications in the trash or flush them down the toilet which can potentially compromise the water systems.

“The water treatment facilities cannot remove the drugs from the water.  Tests of water systems around the world, and particularly in the US, show the presence of various drugs.  Not only does this affect our drinking water, but it also has adversely affected wildlife that lives in and around these water systems,” said Moberly.

Last year, San Joaquin County collected 325 lbs of unwanted pharmaceuticals at an event where fewer cities participated. In October 2011 the Tracy Police Department and University of Pacific also hosted events, and collected 1100 lbs total.

The Drug and Enforcement Administration plans on holding “National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day” events twice per year until federal legislation is passed to provide permanent collection sites, explained Moberly.

“The amount of prescription drugs turned in by the American public during the past three Take-Back Day events speaks volumes about the need to develop a convenient way to rid homes of unwanted or expired prescription drugs,” said DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart in a press release. “DEA remains hard at work to establish just such a drug disposal process.”

More information is available at (209) 468-3066 or

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