Here’s your chance to safely dispose of prescription drugs

  • By Eric Stevick Herald Writer
  • Wednesday, April 27, 2016 7:21pm
  • Local News

EVERETT — Temptation lurks behind the mirror above the bathroom sink.

A doctor prescribed the pills for a long-gone malady.

Yet, month after month, the bottle sits on a shelf above the shaving cream and beneath the dental floss.

Eventually, someone — a spouse, a son, a daughter, a sister, a brother — goes snooping, opens the medicine cabinet and pockets some pills.

And so it begins.

The abuse of prescription drugs, such as oxycodone, often is the starting point to heroin addiction. Opioid prescription painkillers have the same effect as heroin on the brain and body.

“Many of today’s heroin addicts started with prescription drug abuse,” said Snohomish Regional Drug Task Force Cmdr. Pat Slack.

Saturday is Drug Take-Back Day, part of a federal Drug Enforcement Administration and local campaign to empty homes of unused prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

The goal is to provide a safe, convenient and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs.

That means not flushing them down the toilet, where they can harm fish and the environment. And tossing them into the trash is illegal, said Heather Thomas, a Snohomish Health District spokeswoman.

An estimated 9.7 million prescriptions were filled in Snohomish County in 2014 and there were some 13 million over-the-counter medication purchases, according to the health district.

About a third of the medications sold to the public go unused.

In 2015, more than four tons of unwanted medications were collected as part of the Drug Take Back Program in Snohomish County alone.

Saturday’s event is an effort to emphasize the danger, but prescription drugs also can be dropped off at most police stations year round during weekday business hours.

The amount of discarded medicines seems to grow each year, Slack said.

While organizers monitor how much is turned in, they don’t count or identify those bringing in the drugs. The service is free, no questions asked.

“Anonymity is crucial to the success of the program,” Slack said.

There will be 89 collection sites across the state that will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

In Snohomish County, locations include sheriff’s office precincts in Mill Creek, Marysville and Sultan. Collection sites also are available at Granite Falls, Edmonds, Lynnwood and Lake Stevens police departments, as well as some police departments in Island County.

To learn about other potential sites, go to the Drug Enforcement Administration website at

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446;

Talk to us

More in Local News

Logo for news use featuring Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Snohomish County seeks input on spending American Rescue Plan dollars

In-person events across the county will help guide more than $80 million in federal recovery money.

Mandy Jeffcott and Aaron King explore the area beneath a highway underpass while conducting a PIT count Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Snohomish County homelessness rose to 10-year high, count shows

Data released Monday confirmed what advocates suspected: The local homeless population grew amid the pandemic.

Sam Bowles records the run off the water from a chalk drawing with friend and co-artist, Rhyanna Mercer, Tuesday afternoon in Everett, Washington on May 10, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Jackson High’s global TikTok star is chalk full of ideas

Sam Bowles, 18, uses vibrant videos and social media fame to raise awareness of autism.

Nonprofit offers free mental wellness event for local teens

The Saturday gathering at EvCC, sponsored by Leadership Launch, is for teens in eighth grade through college.

‘Prepper’ arrested in Everett after grenade, explosives found

The suspect was described as “anti-government,” police wrote. He remained in custody Monday.

State Rep. April Berg will resign from Everett School Board

The Mill Creek Democrat will step down June 1. Meanwhile, she filed Monday for re-election to the state House.

Juan Luna, left, and Jeff Austin tune up bicycles to be donated Tuesday afternoon at Sharing Wheels Community Bike Shop in Everett, Washington on May 10, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Afghanistan, Ukraine refugees get bikes, bus passes and rides

One nonprofit needs volunteers to repair 40 kids bikes for refugees. Another agency could use cash gift cards.

A woman was struck by a car while crossing HIghway 99 on Dec. 2, 2021. (Lynnwood Police Department)
Woman charged in Highway 99 death of Lynnwood pedestrian, 72

Prosecutors allege Tachelle Thomas was under the influence of THC when she hit and killed Fozieh Shirdelhefzabad, 72, in 2020.

Rainey Forzetting makes a kratom smoothie at her home in Lake Stevens, Washington on March 29, 2022. Blueberries, 6 grams Kratom, a triple berry mix, almond butter, pomegranate and oak milk make up her daily concoction. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Sold as elixir, kratom popularity surges in ‘Wild West’ of legality

Doctors warn kratom, an opioid alternative, is addictive and ripe for abuse. Yet it’s unregulated and sold at any smokeshop.

Most Read