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Q: Does Kern County have a drop-off facility for expired or no longer used medications or OTC medications? I have asked my local pharmacy, and they will not take them. Also, where do diabetic patients take their insulin supplies (syringes, needles, etc.) for disposal?

-- Debra Yungkurth

A: Lyn Beurmann, waste management supervisor of Kern County Waste Management department, wrote: "Kern County's Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facilities accept old/expired medications from residents only, but NO controlled substances. The sheriff holds drop-off events for the controlled substances periodically. Additionally, we have an ongoing residential sharps drop-off program at our sites where residents can bring us their used syringes/lancets, etc., in their full sharps container for disposal and pick up an empty container for future use free of charge."


Metro Kern County Special Waste Facility, 4951 Standard St., Bakersfield; 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Mojave Special Waste Facility, 17035 Finnin St., Mojave at the Mojave Airport; 9 a.m.-noon July 6, Sept. 7 and Nov. 2.

Kern County Special Waste Facility, 3301 W. Bowman Road, Ridgecrest landfill; 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the second Saturday of each month.

Medications can also be dropped off at one-day hazardous waste collection events:

9 a.m.-noon July 20 and Nov. 16, Kern Valley Transfer Station

9 a.m.-noon Aug. 3 and Oct. 5, Tehachapi Sanitary Landfill

9 a.m.-noon Oct. 19, Lebec Transfer Station

Special Projects Manager Aurora Rush advises residents to combine all their unwanted medications in a clear, plastic baggie and drop them off that way. Don't bring pills in prescription bottles.

"We don't want any of their personal information," Rush said.

Residents can also pick up a sharps container from the facilities if they don't have one.

On another sharps note, Rush asks residents to not put their needles in their blue curbside recycling bins. Waste workers have been finding sharps from the bins shoved in 2-liter plastic soda bottles.

"Medicines or needles do not go in the recycling containers," Rush said.

Visit for more information.

Q: We traveled on Highway 178 on the Kern River road last weekend, and was it scary. The road has a mix of concrete barriers, guardrails, poles and a lot of nothing. Who decides where they will put up guardrails? When a car happens to go into the river, is that when the rail goes up?

-- Barbara A. Yurasek

A: We asked Jose Camarena of Caltrans' Office of Public Information and Legislative Affairs to respond: "State Route 178 through the Kern River Canyon is a two-lane facility with a long history of accidents caused primarily by distracted, impaired and unsafe drivers. Speeding and illegal passing are ongoing enforcement issues with the California Highway Patrol as well.

"There are sections where metal-beam guardrailing has been installed in order to keep errant vehicles on the roadway. However, the geometric constraints of the Kern River Canyon often make it impossible to safely install effective guardrail systems at various locations along the route, so defensive driving and patience are a must when driving to/from the Lake Isabella area.

"Directional arrows and posted speed signage, as well as designated sections that allow safe passing of slower vehicles, are a few measures that Caltrans utilizes to maintain commuter/traveler safety along this corridor."

Ask The Californian appears on Mondays. Submit questions to or to The Bakersfield Californian, c/o Christine Bedell, P.O. Bin 440, Bakersfield, CA 93302.