At a time when opioid abuse is at epidemic proportions, it’s more important than ever for people to handle such medication in a responsible manner, Island County Sheriff Mark Brown said.
That’s why the sheriff’s office is once again working with the Drug Enforcement Administration to make it free and easy for people to dispose of unwanted pills and patches.
A Drug Take Back event is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, April 29. One is at the sheriff’s South Whidbey precinct office at 5521 East Harbor Road in Freeland. The other is at the Coupeville marshal’s office at Coupeville Town Hall.
Oak Harbor police aren’t participating this time because it coincides with the Holland Happening parade. The police department does have a 24-hour, seven-days-a-weeks, secure “drop box” at their office available throughout the year for walk-in drug disposal.
The purpose of the event is to prevent theft and pill abuse by giving people a way to dispose of potentially dangerous, expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.
Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet, according to the DEA. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines — flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash — both pose potential safety and health hazards.
Last October, Americans turned in 366 tons of prescription drugs at almost 5,200 sites operated by the DEA and more than 4,000 of its state and local law enforcement partners. Overall, in its 12 previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in more than 3,500 tons of pills.