On Saturday, 1,373 Clark, Skamania, and Klickitat County residents dropped off a total of 3,678 pounds of unused and unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medications with local law enforcement officers, pharmacists, coalition staff and community volunteers. The medication disposal event was held at seven locations throughout the counties where a steady stream of cars lined-up to hand over medications and sharps. The busiest drop site was Cascade Park Kaiser Permanente, which served 650 participants that brought in 1,813 pounds of pills and 624 pounds of sharps. All pills were weighed and secured in boxes that will be transported for incineration by the DEA.
These numbers show an increase over the Drug Take Back event last October, which collected 3,549 pounds of medications and 441 pounds of sharps. There was also an increase in participants, up 150 from last year’s event. Over 825 of those dropping off meds were first time contributors.
Prescription drug abuse is the fastest-growing drug problem in the country.? An estimated 54 million people over the age of 12 have used prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons in their lifetime. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), more people report using controlled prescription drugs than cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine combined.
The drug take back events take place twice annually in April and October and are organized thanks to many community partnerships including Washington State Health Care Authority (WA-HCA), Clark County Public Health, Clark County Green Neighbors, Kaiser Permanente, PeaceHealth Southwest, Battle Ground Police Department, Vancouver Police Department, Washougal Police Department, La Center Police Department, Ridgefield Police Department, Washougal Silver Star Search and Rescue, Skyline Hospital, Klickitat County Courthouse, Bingen-White Salmon Police Department, Skamania County Sheriff’s Office, Goldendale Police Department, CPAKC, Walgreens, Connect Evergreen, La Center United, Prevent Coalition, Prevent Together: Battle Ground Prevention Alliance, Unite! Washougal Community Coalition, Connect Evergreen, West Van for Youth, One Prevention Alliance, KLASAC, Our Klickitat Coalition, Clark College ACES Club, and U.S. Dept. of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration.
Prevent Coalition would like to thank PeaceHealth Southwest Urgent Care, Battle Ground Police Department, Kaiser Permanente Cascade Park, Skamania County Sheriff’s Office, Washougal Silver Star Search and Rescue, Skyline Hospital and Klickitat County Courthouse for hosting the seven event sites.
Unwanted medications can also be disposed of year-round at several collection sites across Clark, Skamania and Klickitat Counties. Controlled substances, such as painkillers and tranquilizers, can be taken to participating law enforcement agencies and participating pharmacies. Non-controlled substances, such as over-the-counter medications and sharps, can be taken to local participating transfer and recovery centers. Visit www.takebackyourmeds.org for more details on where to drop off your medications.