Darien residents will be able to discard the expired and unused medications in their medicine cabinets when Darien Health Department and Liberation Programs, Inc. conduct the town's first pharmaceutical collection, Safe Disposal = Sound Returns, Saturday, Oct. 9, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Ox Ridge Elementary School, 395 Mansfield Avenue, Darien.

Safe Disposal = Sound Returns, will provide a safe means of disposal for old pharmaceuticals -- prescription and over-the-counter medications, pet/veterinary medications and vitamins. Registered pharmacists will be on site and will safely handle the medication collection.

Discarded medications are creating concerns across the nation.

"Many people are under the mistaken impression that the best way to get rid of these unwanted meds is to flush them down the toilet," Town of Darien's Director of Health David A. Knauf said. "This is incorrect ­-- trace amounts of these chemicals are showing up in the environment. By providing a method of `safe disposal' for these meds, we predict `sound returns' on our efforts to protect Long Island Sound."

Raising community awareness about this cause is important to Alan J. Mathis, president and CEO of Liberation Programs, Inc.

"The event will serve a dual purpose; our goal is to prevent the medications from entering the environment or getting into the hands of young children or teens," he said.

Mathis and Knauf express their thanks to supporters Aquarion Water Company, Community Fund of Darien, Darien Board of Education, Darien Police Department, Lower Fairfield County Regional Action Council, Norwalk Hospital, Sergio's Pizza and The Office of Consumer Protection. With their assistance both controlled and non-controlled substances will be safely collected and disposed.

Co-heading the Safe Disposal = Sound Returns planning committee is Knauf and Sara Mathews Dixon, special services director for Liberation Programs, Inc. The committee urges participants to blackout personal identification on any medications; residents will not have to disclose their identities during the collection process. To learn more about Safe Disposal = Sound Returns, or to support the event call Dixon at 203-604-1278 or Knauf at 203-656-7324.

The Town of Darien's Health Department mission is to assure a safe community and healthy environment to all residents and visitors through Public Health based environmental health regulation and personal health services to the community and to promote healthy lifestyles through preventative education initiatives.

Liberation Programs, Inc. has sites in Greenwich, Stamford, Darien, Norwalk and Bridgeport which serve 1,200 adults and adolescents each day in residential and outreach programs aimed at restoring the lives of individuals and families that have faced the disease of addiction.