Chester Gap column for Oct. 16

Medication Disposal Day

For the past five years, Warren Memorial Hospital, in conjunction with the Warren County Sheriff’s Department, has conducted twice yearly drug take back days in April and October. This year’s is 4 to 7 p.m. Oct. 23 at the hospital’s outpatient center (120 N. Commerce Ave., Front Royal).

Representatives from sheriff’s office and hospital stand outside to collect the drugs, whether prescription or over-the-counter; simply drop the medication in a receptacle. There is no need to remove them from the container or take the labels off. The sheriff’s department destroys everything at the end of the day.

According to the FDA, the flushing of medications into the water system has altered the biological ecosystem in many streams, rivers and lakes. The most common forms of medications found in these waterways are antibiotics, hormones, blood pressure medication and narcotics.

Medications are meant to alter a biological response in humans, but plants, fish and other wildlife ingesting these chemicals can have serious effects. Male fish in waters with high concentrations of hormones can become “femalized” and unable to reproduce. Even animals that drink from these bodies of water can be effected.

Another reason to remove the medications from your home is personal safety. Having medicines around your home that are no longer needed can lead to accidental ingestion by children or pets, overdoses or theft. Prescription drug overdoses cause more deaths annually than heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine combined. It has long been known in the law enforcement community that criminals will survey obituaries for opportunities to illegally obtain prescription narcotics from a residence.

If you have medications you’d like to dispose of, take advantage of this offering (which is not restricted to Warren County residents). For more information, call 540-636-0222.

AT hiker saved thanks to fire road

Recently a call came in reporting an injured hiker at the Tom Floyd Wayside on the Appalachian Trail. The man had become sick during the night; fortunately, one of his fellow hikers was able to walk to an area with cell service and call 911.

The Chester Gap Volunteer Fire Department was able to find an old fire road (complete with a lock and chain, which had to be cut) behind the 4-H Center and, along with a medic from Warren County, drove as far as they could and hiked the remaining distance, equipment in tow.

The medic was able to medicate the hiker so he could walk out; he was then taken to the hospital for further evaluation. There was no address on the property. Just as a reminder: If you have an access road on your property, check with local fire and police to make sure they know how to get in touch with you in an emergency.