Clallam residents turn in more than 100 pounds of drugs on Drug Take Back Day

PORT ANGELES — Clallam County residents turned over more than 100 pounds of prescription drugs during the most recent National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, the April 29 National Drug Take Back Day yielded the highest collection to date for the Pacific Northwest.

Residents in Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Alaska turned in 35,137 pounds of prescription drugs, 15,148 of which came from Washington state alone.

Officials locally said it was about on par for what is usually collected. Jefferson County does not participate in Drug Take Back Day. Like its Clallam County counterparts, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office accepts prescription drugs all year round.

At the Clallam County Courthouse, sheriff’s deputies collected about 50 pounds of prescription drugs, said Jim Borte, public information officer and project coordinator for the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office.

He said that’s comparable to previous years.

It was the first time the Chinook Pharmacy in Forks participated, said Halie Friesz, the pharmacy technician who organized the event.

Though she didn’t get a weight, she said residents completely filled two boxes that were about 3 cubic feet each.

She said the pharmacy got involved after customers frequently asked how to appropriately dispose of medication they no longer needed.

Friesz said she is thankful the sheriff’s office sent a deputy to help with the event.

“We’re going to try to do this as often as possible” she said.

The Sequim Police Department collected 46.1 pounds of prescription drugs, said Victoria Orman, chief’s assistant.

“Keep those drugs coming in,” she said. “We’re glad to get them off the street.”

Borte said law enforcement agencies across the county allow people to drop off their unneeded prescription drugs during normal business hours.

Officials said they plan to participate in the next National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, which is scheduled for Oct. 28.

“Too often, unused prescription drugs find their ways into the wrong hands. That’s dangerous and often tragic,” said acting DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg in a news release.

“That’s why it was great to see thousands of folks from across the country clean out their medicine cabinets and turn in — safely and anonymously — a record amount of prescription drugs.”

More than 900,000 pounds of prescription drugs were turned in at about 5,500 sites across the nation. Since 2010, 8,103,363 pounds of prescription drugs have been turned in as part of the effort.

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Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at jmajor@peninsula dailynews.com.

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