Reminder: How to safely dispose of medicine in San Juan County

  • Fri Feb 23rd, 2018 7:00am
  • News

Submitted by San Juan County

Wondering how to safely dispose of expired and unused medications? Take the medications to one of the five permanent drop-off bins located throughout San Juan County for free disposal.

The drop-off bins are located at:

-San Juan Island Sheriff’s Office (available 24/7)

-Lopez Island Sheriff’s Substation

-Orcas Island Sheriff’s Substation

-Ray’s Pharmacy on Orcas Island

-Friday Harbor Drug

Visit see which items are accepted. Leave medicines in their original containers and, if you wish, mark out any personal information. Law enforcement locations can accept all medicines, including opiate pain medicines and marijuana. Currently the drop off bins at local drugstores cannot accept any controlled substances. Take any controlled substances to one of the sheriff offices on San Juan Island, Lopez Island or Orcas Island for disposal.

Annually, over 600 pounds of various prescription and over-the-counter medicines are collected and transported for destruction from the community. Getting unwanted medicines disposed of properly started in 2010 with a partnership between our local pharmacies, the San Juan Island, Lopez and Orcas Preventions Coalitions, San Juan County Health and Community Services and the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office.

San Juan County staff thank the pharmacies, the prevention coalitions and San Juan County Sheriff’s Office for sustaining this partnership and continuing the collection and disposal with the Drug Enforcement Administration. The Take Back Your Meds is a state program that the community implemented to provide safe disposal options for unwanted medications. Safely disposing of unwanted and expired medicines using a take-back program keeps these medicines out of the wrong hands and prevents them from entering ground and surface water. Many teens mistakenly think medicine in the home medicine cabinet are safer to abuse than illegal drugs.

One primary goal of the program is to decrease the number of accidental poisonings occurring in the household due to unwanted medications. This can be caused by medication mistakes due to excess unused medications, abuse of opiates, and childhood poisoning due to accessible medications. Currently accidental poisoning is the number one reason for accidental death in the state of Washington. Contact the Washington Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 for concerns with accidental poisonings.

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