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No more flushing medicines, so here's what can be done

The days of flushing prescription medication down the toilet are over -- the drugs are passing through wastewater treatment systems and into the environment.

The days of flushing prescription medication down the toilet are over -- the drugs are passing through wastewater treatment systems and into the environment.

So now what?

The Western Lake Superior Sanitary District on Oct. 6 will host a free drop-off for all prescription drugs at the agency's Household Hazardous Waste Facility in Duluth's Lincoln Park-West End.

The event is set from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 2626 Courtland St., just off Interstate 35 at the 27th Avenue West exit.

Studies have shown surprisingly high levels of some drugs pass through sewage treatment plants and into waterways, where they also have been found in fish.

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For those who want to get rid of their old medicine cabinet leftovers, the WLSSD is asking that residents:

* Bring prescription or over-the-counter medication in its original container with all information about the medication visible to assist with sorting. Names and addresses may be covered or scratched out.

* Keep medications out of reach of children while waiting for and transporting material to the event.

* Keep needles or other medical sharps separate and properly packaged for safe disposal.

The drug drop-off is a one-time event and requires the WLSSD have law enforcement officers and licensed pharmacists on hand.

To dispose of medications at other times, officials suggest rendering the drugs unusable, such as mixing them with a small amount of water, then wrapping them tightly and throwing them in the trash. For more information, go to www.pca . state.mn.us/oea/hhw/phar maceuticals.cfm.

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