Law enforcement officials on Whidbey Island are once again working together to take drugs.
The Island County Sheriff’s Office, the Oak Harbor Police Department and the Coupeville Marshal’s Office are holding a drug take-back event this weekend to help citizens unload unwanted medication.
This is the third year that the program, sponsored by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, is being held on the island. The purpose of the program is to prevent accidental poisonings, illicit drug use and water pollution by getting old and unused drugs safely out of the medicine cabinet.
For many people, finding a safe way to dispose of medication can be difficult. And there’s a shocking amount of unused prescription drugs out there.
Lt. John Dyer with the Oak Harbor Police Department said more than 1,000 pounds of pills were turned in to police during the last two drug take-back events on Whidbey.
“It’s a serious issue for law enforcement,” Dyer said. “We want to get unwanted drugs out of households so they don’t get misused or accidentally ingested.”
The proliferation of unwanted medicines is a public health problem. Drug overdoses in the state are the leading cause of accidental death. Nearly 12 percent of teens in the state use prescription pain pills to get high, according to www.TakeBackYourMeds.org.
In addition, many medications contain toxic chemicals that shouldn’t be flushed or thrown in the garbage for fear of polluting the environment.
The cops will be accepting drugs at three locations on the island, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 28. People can bring their unwanted medications to the Oak Harbor Police Department at 860 S.E. Barrington Drive, the Coupeville Marshal’s Office at 4 N.E. Seventh St., or the Sheriff’s precinct office at 5521 East Harbor Road in Freeland.