Drug take-back efforts continue

EVERETT — Officials in Snohomish County collected about 210 pounds of unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medications during the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s take-back event.

Nationwide 244 tons of unwanted drugs were collected as part of last month’s efforts to get unused and potentially deadly medications out of circulation, according to federal authorities.

In Snohomish County, five locations were open during the Saturday event under the coordinated efforts of the county’s Partnership for Secure Medicine Disposal.

A national study released last year concluded that about 6 million people in America abuse prescription drugs. A majority say they acquire the drugs through friends or relatives who haven’t properly disposed of medications.

Here in Snohomish County, officials began offering medication collection sites in 2009. Police departments around the county take back unused drugs, including controlled substances, during the weekdays. The Lynnwood Police Department’s collection site is open seven days a week.

Many Bartell drugstores in the county also accept unwanted over-the-counter medications, vitamins, inhalers, pet medications and unopened EpiPens. Only police are allowed to handle controlled substance, such as prescription painkillers.

There also is a collections site at Naval Station Everett for those with access.

So far, county officials have collected more than five tons of drugs since the collection program opened three years ago.

Authorities also have supported legislation to require drug manufacturers to fund drug take-back programs. State lawmakers failed to pass any such legislation.

For site locations or more information, call 425-388-3199 or go to www.takebackyourmeds.org.

Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; hefley@heraldnet.com.

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