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Editorial: Drug drop off is a good addition

Dakota County's prescription-drug disposal program is coming to Farmington, and that's a good thing.

Home medicine cabinets have gotten increasing scrutiny in recent years as sources for recreational drugs. Kids take unused drugs from their parents. Adults steal from adults.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in 2009 16 million Americans 12 and older had taken a prescription pain reliever, tranquilizer, stimulant or sedative for a purpose other than its intended use at least once in the year prior to the survey. And the Dakota County Sheriff's Department reports that non-medical use of prescription drugs ranks second only to marijuana as the most common form of drug abuse in the United States.

The county's program, a little more than a year old and well received at the three other locations where it is in place, is a solution, or at least in a step in the right direction. It gives people a place to get rid of unused or expired prescription drugs. A way to know those drugs will be disposed of properly, something even throwing an unneeded prescription into the trash cannot guarantee.

Dumping drugs down the drain has been shown to cause problems in the environment.

Until now, though, the disposal sites were not always convenient for Farmington residents. That changes with the decision announced this week to expand to several additional Dakota County cities, Farmington included. All Farmington residents have to do is collect their unneeded prescriptions, put them in plastic bags and drop them off.

Since it began, the county's program has collected and disposed of more than 3,000 pounds of pharmaceutical drugs.

With the addition of several more cities as drop off locations, the program's impact will only continue to grow.