County Medication Take Back Program removes 600 pounds annually

  • Thu Feb 22nd, 2018 1:30am
  • Life

Wondering how to safely dispose of expired and unused medications? Take the medications to one of the five permanent drop-off bins located throughout the County for free disposal. The drop-off bins are located at:

– San Juan Island Sheriff’s Office (available 24/7)

– Lopez Island Sheriff’s Substation

– Orcas Island Sheriff’s Substation

– Ray’s Pharmacy on Orcas Island

– Friday Harbor Drug

Check the “What Can You Take Back” list to see which items are accepted. Leave medicines in their original containers and, if you wish, mark out any personal information. Law enforcement locations can accept all medicines, including opiate pain medicines and marijuana. Currently, the drop off bins at our local drugstores cannot accept any controlled substances. Please take any controlled substances to one of the Sheriff Offices on San Juan Island, Lopez Island or Orcas Island for disposal.

Annually, over 600 pounds of various prescription and Over the Counter (OTC) medicines are collected and transported for destruction from our community. Getting unwanted medicines disposed of properly started in 2010 with a partnership between our local pharmacies, the San Juan Island, Lopez and Orcas Preventions Coalitions, San Juan County Health and Community Services and the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office.

We thank our pharmacies, the Prevention Coalitions and San Juan County Sheriff’s Office for sustaining this partnership and continuing the collection and disposal with the DEA. The Take Back Your Meds is a state program that our community implemented to provide safe disposal options for unwanted medications. Safely disposing of unwanted and expired medicines using a take-back program keeps these medicines out of the wrong hands and prevents them from entering ground and surface water. Many teens mistakenly think medicine in the home medicine cabinet is safer to abuse than illegal drugs.

One primary goal of the program is to decrease the number of accidental poisonings occurring in the household due to unwanted medications. This can be caused by medication mistakes due to excess unused medications, abuse of opiates, and childhood poisoning due to accessible medications. Currently, accidental poisoning is the number one reason for accidental death in the state of Washington. Contact the Washington Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 for concerns with accidental poisonings.

Additional helpful links include takebackyourmeds.org, deadiversion.usdoj.gov, and sjipc.org.