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Washington County adds prescription drug drop-off site in Cottage Grove

Washington County added a prescription drug drop-off site at its South Service Center in Cottage Grove. Bulletin photo by Scott Wente

South Washington County residents now have a safe place to dump their unwanted drugs.

Washington County officials recently added a secure prescription drug drop-off box at the county's South Service Center in Cottage Grove, providing area residents a local way to safely dispose of old, unused or unwanted prescription medication. They also added a drop-off box at the county's Forest Lake service center.

The public can drop off expired, over-the-counter and unwanted medication, which will be collected by the county and disposed at facilities approved by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

A similar drop-off site has been in operation since last April at the county's Law Enforcement Center in Stillwater. Washington County Sheriff's Cmdr. Brian Mueller said that site has been a success. Between that location and several drug take-back events in past years the county has collected thousands of pounds of medication.

"We've been knocking it dead here in Stillwater," Mueller said, adding that the northern and southern reaches of the county are "untapped markets" where people may not have a safe and convenient way to dispose of medication.

The sheriff's office and Washington County Public Health and Environment partnered with state and federal agencies to start collecting the drugs out of concern about where the medications might otherwise end up -- either in the hands of people who should not have them or improperly disposed.

Once something is placed in the locked drop box, it cannot be retrieved. County staff will empty the boxes frequently. The program is free and anonymous.

The South Service Center is at 13000 Ravine Parkway, just off Keats Avenue. It is open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.

Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

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