Law enforcement officials on Whidbey Island are once again asking residents to turn in their unwanted medication.
Oak Harbor Police, the Island County Sheriff’s Office and the Coupeville Marshal’s Office are holding the fifth “Drug Take Back” event Saturday, April 27, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at three sites on the island.
Oak Harbor police will be accepting pills in the front lobby of the police department. The Coupeville marshal will take pills at Town Hall. And the sheriff will be at the South Precinct on East Harbor Road in Freeland.
The goal of the program is to get unwanted medicine out of people’s homes in order to prevent accidental poisonings, drug abuse and drug-seeking burglaries.
In addition, the safe disposal keeps hazardous medicines from polluting the environment.
Sheriff Mark Brown said the emphasis of the program is on prescription pain pills, but that any type of unused or expired prescription medicine will be accepted.
There’s definitely a need. Hundreds of pounds of pills from Whidbey residents have been collected and sent to the Drug Enforcement Agency for destruction.
Coupeville Marshal Lance Davenport said a cancer patient’s family brought in seven pounds of medication for disposal last year. Another man surrendered a bag full of pills that dated back to the late 1960s.
“It really dawned on me, having small children, what a danger it is to have unnecessary medication around the house,” he said.
Oak Harbor Police Chief Ed Green said he’s seen cases in which drug addicts look through obituaries for people who’ve died from a disease likely to require pain pills and then burglarize those people’s homes.
“You really want to get them out of your house,” he said.