VANCOUVER, WA (May 3, 2022) – More than 875 residents in Clark and Skamania counties safely dropped off a total of 3,743 pounds of unused medications and syringes during a multi-site drug take-back event on Saturday, April 30th.
The medication disposal event was held at six locations in two Southwest Washington counties and was organized by a committee of local youth substance misuse prevention coalitions, law enforcement agencies, medical clinics, community business partners, and volunteers.
The Prevent Coalition would like to thank PeaceHealth Southwest Urgent Care, Kaiser Permanente Orchards, the Battle Ground Police Department, Washougal Police Department, the Cowlitz Indian Tribal Public Safety Department, and the Skamania County Sheriff’s Office for hosting the six event sites.
“We had a decent turnout for the events across our region,” said Kelley Groen-Sieckmann, community prevention specialist with the Prevent Coalition and ESD 112. “It’s always inspiring to see members of the community committed to keeping medications out of the environment and our drinking water, as well as taking preventative measures to protect their children, families, and pets from accidental exposure to potentially dangerous medications and reduce the chances of misuse that can lead to prescription drug addiction,” explained Groen-Sieckmann.
Drug take-back events have been organized by prevention coalitions and law enforcement agencies in Clark County since 2010. The events are now held twice a year (April and October) in multiple counties, and in partnership with the Washington State Health Care Authority and DEA National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. All discarded medications are secured in boxes and transported for incineration by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Medicine take‐back events and year-round disposal programs are the only safe and most environmentally protective way to dispose of medicine. Prescription and over-the-counter medicine should never be flushed or thrown in the trash, because it pollutes the environment and waterways, puts kids and pets at risk for accidental poisonings, and increases accessibility and potential for misuse by those for whom it wasn’t prescribed.
If you missed Saturday’s drug take back event, unwanted medications can be disposed of for free at year-round collection sites across Southwest Washington. Prescription and over-the-counter medications including controlled substances, such as painkillers and tranquilizers, can be taken to participating law enforcement agencies and pharmacies. Sharps and syringes can be disposed of for free at local participating transfer and recovery centers or at any of Share’s syringe program locations. Visit www.med-project.org to find free nearby medicine collection sites or to order pre-paid postage envelopes to dispose of medicine by mail. Visit bit.ly/disposemedsharps to download a list of year-round medicine and syringe disposal sites in Clark, Skamania, and Klickitat counties.
Simple steps like properly disposing of medications and storing medicine in a locked location can help prevent accidental poisonings, prescription drug misuse, and overall decrease the spread of the opioid problem we are seeing in our region and across the country. To learn about the benefits and how to store medicine in a locked location, and take the pledge to lock your meds, visit www.LocksSaveLives.org.
ABOUT PREVENT COALITION:
Supported by the fiscal agent ESD 112, Prevent Coalition is a community coalition formed in 2003 to increase collaboration, awareness, and reduce youth substance use in Southwest Washington. Prevent also implements initiatives for rural communities across Washington state. As a community mobilizer, we’re creating a culture promoting healthy choices; advocating for policies and regulations that protect, empower and nurture youth; and facilitating positive opportunities for youth to be involved and thrive. For more info and to find a youth substance use prevention coalition in your community, visit www.preventcoalition.org.