Washington

Can’t flush ’em or pitch ’em, here’s how Skagit County plans to dispose of unused medications

Skagit County will soon begin a secure medication return program that should make disposing of opioids and other prescription drugs more convenient.
Skagit County will soon begin a secure medication return program that should make disposing of opioids and other prescription drugs more convenient. Associated Press

It will soon be easier to return unused prescription medications in Skagit County.

The county commissioners Wednesday voted to begin a secure medication return program that will include drop-off locations at pharmacies and hospitals, as well as secure mailing of unused prescription drugs, according to a story published by the Skagit Valley Herald. Public Health Director Jennifer Johnson told the Herald that the new program, which will take about a year to fully implement, will make disposing of opioids more convenient.

The program, which by court order will be paid for by pharmaceutical companies, is similar to ones used in six other counties in Washington state, according to the Herald. King County is one of the counties using a similar drop-box program.

Whatcom County has not yet implemented a similar plan. According to the City of Bellingham website, prescription narcotics and other controlled substances, such as Codeine, Hydrocodone, OxyContin, Percocet, Ritalin, Vicodin and Xanax, must be turned into the Bellingham Police Department (505 Grand Avenue).

Five Bellingham pharmacies accept other unused prescribed medications, over-the-counter medications, medication samples, medications for pets, medications ointments and lotions, vitamins, inhalers and unopened EpiPens: the Fairhaven Haggen Pharmacy (1041 12th St.), Meridian Haggen Pharmacy (2814 Meridian St.), Barkley Haggen Pharmacy (2900 Woburn St.), Hoagland Pharmacy (2330 Yew St.) and Interfaith Pharmacy (218 Unity St.).

All medications should be returned in their original packaging, and there is no charge to return the drugs.

Medications should not be flushed or washed down the drain, as they create pollution that can harm the environment, and drugs that are stored or thrown in the trash tend to find their way into the “wrong hands,” according to cob.org.

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