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Bellingham's drug return program has collected more than 8,000 pounds of unused medicine

A city program to collected unused medicine has collected more than 8,000 pounds of expired or unused drugs since it began in 2010, Bellingham officials said Thursday, Feb. 12.

The Medicine Return Program reduces the potential for poisoning and unintended overdose and keeps the unwanted medicine from being thrown in household garbage or flushed down a toilet.

Unwanted and expired medicine can be dropped off at five local Bellingham pharmacies: Hoagland Pharmacy, Interfaith Pharmacy, and the Haggen pharmacies at Barkley, Meridian and Fairhaven. The pharmacies can legally accept most prescription and over-the-counter medicines, including pet medicines. Pharmacists can help customers identify acceptable items.

Prescription narcotics and other controlled substances should be taken to the Bellingham Police Department during regular office hours.

The free program is funded by the City of Bellingham Public Works Department.

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