Drug take-back event collects unwanted medications to protect families and environment

Last year, 92 million prescriptions were filled in the state of Washington. With two-thirds of prescribed medications going unused, the amount of medicine accumulating in households is substantial – and dangerous. On October 22nd Clark County residents can safely dispose of all unused medications at three free collection events held in Vancouver and Battle Ground.

All events will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, October 22nd, at:

  • PeaceHealth Memorial Hospital, 33rd and Main St in Vancouver
  • Kaiser Permanente-Cascade Park, 12607 S.E. Mill Plain Blvd. in Vancouver
  • Battle Ground Police Department, 507 SW 1st St in Battle Ground

Unused medicines left in the home increase opportunities for drug abuse. More than half of people 12 or older who used pain relievers nonmedically report getting the drug from a friend or relative for free. Reducing access could lead to lower overdose death rates, which have increased nearly 140% since 2000. And overdose death rates involving opioid pain relievers and heroin have increased nearly 200% in that time.

Proper drug disposal is also an environmental issue. Unused medications should not be flushed down the toilet or put in the trash, as the medications can contaminate water systems. Drug Take Back programs like this one dispose of medications safely through the DEA.

The October 22nd collection event is organized thanks to a community partnership including Vancouver Police Department, Battle Ground Police Department, Clark County Environmental Services, PREVENT! Coalition of Clark County, Prevent Together Coalition, West Van for Youth, Unite Washougal, La Center United, Connect Evergreen, Kaiser Permanente, and PeaceHealth SW.

Similar events collected more than 3,400 pounds of medications from more than 1,700 participants last year.

Unwanted medications also can be disposed of at several collection sites across Clark County. Controlled substances, such as pain killers and tranquilizers, can be taken to participating law enforcement agencies and participating pharmacies. Non-controlled substances, such as over-the-counter medications, can be taken to local participating pharmacies. All unwanted medications (controlled and non-controlled) will be accepted at the October 22nd events. For more information on both types of disposal, visit “Medications” at RecyclingA-Z.com. For more information about other disposal or recycling options, visit RecyclingA-Z.com or call Clark County Environmental Services at (360) 397-2121 ext. 4352, or PREVENT! Coalition at (360) 952-3406 or www.preventclarkcounty.org.