Whidbey police take back 250 pounds of pills

Whidbey Island residents turned in nearly 250 pounds of pills during a one-day, drug take-back program last month.

The program, sponsored by the DEA and Whidbey law enforcement agencies, allows people to safely dispose of medication. It’s aimed at reducing the abuse of prescription pills while protecting the environment from potential pollutants.

Island County Commissioner Helen Price Johnson announced the tallies at the commissioners’ meeting Monday. She said Sheriff Mark Brown collected 82 pounds of pills in Freeland and Marshal Dave Penrod gathered 25 pounds in Coupeville.

And even though the take-back occurred during Oak Harbor’s Holland Happening parade, Lt. John Dyer amassed 135 pounds of unwanted drugs.

Price Johnson said more than 8,500 pounds of medication were collected at 85 collection sites throughout the state. While successful, she hopes that state lawmakers will obviate the need for such a program in the future by passing a bill requiring pharmaceutical companies to fund drug take-back efforts.

“There’s an incredible need for us to address this issue and I hope the Legislature will see the wisdom of addressing it next year,” she said.

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