More than 413 residents in Clark and Klickitat counties safely dropped off a total of 1,504 pounds of unused medications and syringes during a multi-site drug take-back event on Saturday, October 28.
The medication disposal event was held at six locations, in two Southwest Washington counties, and was organized by a committee of local youth substance use prevention coalitions, law enforcement agencies, clinics, pharmacies, community partners, and volunteers. The event sites were hosted by PeaceHealth Memorial Campus, Walgreens Cascade Park, Battle Ground Police Department, Washougal Police Department, La Center Police Department, and Klickitat County Court House.
“We had a good turnout for the events across our region,” said Kelley Groen-Sieckmann, community prevention project coordinator with Central Vancouver Coalition and ESD 112. “It is always inspiring to see members of the community committed to disposing of medicine properly, which in turn keeps these potentially dangerous substances out of the environment and our waterways. It also protects their children and families from the potential risks of accidental poisonings, overdose, or misuse which can lead to prescription drug addiction,” explained Groen-Sieckmann.
All discarded medications were secured in boxes and transported for incineration by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
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. Since 2010, Drug Take Back Events in Southwest Washington have collected 57,544 pounds of prescription and over-the-counter medications and syringes, which is equivalent to the weight of seven elephants.
A huge thank you to Vancouver Police Department for sponsoring the Columbian newspaper advertising for the Drug Take Back Event, and to Southwest Washington Accountable Community of Health (SWACH) for their sponsorship, which provided food and beverage for law enforcement, staff, and volunteers supporting the five Clark County event sites.
For those that missed Saturday’s drug take-back event, unwanted medications and sharps/syringes can be disposed of year-round at several collection sites across Southwest Washington. Prescription and over-the-counter medication including controlled substances, such as painkillers and tranquilizers, can be taken to participating law enforcement agencies and pharmacies for safe, free disposal. Sharps and syringes can be disposed of for free at local participating transfer and recovery centers. Visit www.medtakebackwashington.org to find nearby collection sites that accept medicine for safe, free disposal or to order pre-paid postage envelopes to dispose of medicine by mail. Do not pour medicine down the drain, flush or throw it in the trash as it could be taken by someone for whom it wasn’t prescribed and it can pollute the environment and our drinking water.
ABOUT CENTRAL VANCOUVER COALITION:
Supported by the fiscal agent ESD 112, Central Vancouver Coalition was founded in 2018 to build a healthier Central Vancouver community and is a part of the Washington State Health Care Authority, Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery’s Community Prevention and Wellness Initiative. The Coalition seeks to reduce and prevent youth substance use by building an inclusive, resilient, connected community through awareness, education, and collaboration. Members of the Coalition include representatives from Vancouver Public Schools, Vancouver Police Department, Clark County Public Health, chemical dependency professionals, youth, mental health professionals, parents, non-profits, youth serving organizations, the business sector, faith communities, and more. To get involved or to learn more, go to www.centralvancoalition.org.