PORT TOWNSEND — Sites for Jefferson County residents to safely dispose of unused or expired prescription medications will be available in Port Townsend and Port Hadlock on April 27.
The effort is part of the national Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.
Unwanted prescription medications can be turned in at booths in the parking lots the Port Hadlock QFC at 1890 Irondale Road and the Safeway in Port Townsend at 442 W. Sims Way between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Nationally, this will the public’s 17th opportunity in seven years to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs, Jefferson County Public Health said in a press release.
“We encourage everyone to clean out medicine cabinets and bring pills and liquids to the Port Hadlock QFC or the Safeway in Port Townsend for proper disposal,” the department said.
The service is free and anonymous, with no questions asked.
The DEA cannot accept intravenous solutions, injectables, syringes, chemotherapy medications, medical waste, patches, needles or sharps.
However, Jefferson County Public Health will provide a sharps container on site.
Additionally, a year-round unused prescription medication disposal box is at the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, 79 Elkins Road., Port Hadlock.
Other communities near Port Townsend and Chimacum that are participating in this year’s take back are Sequim, with a site at the police department at the Civic Center at 152 W. Cedar Ave., and Bainbridge Island at it’s police station at 625 E. Winslow Way.
Last October, Americans turned in 475 tons of prescription drugs at almost 6,000 sites operated by the DEA and more than 4,500 of its state and local law enforcement partners, according to Jefferson County.
Overall, in its 16 previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in over 8.1 million pounds — more than 4,050 tons — of pills.
“This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue,” the press release said.
“Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs.”
The usual methods for home disposal of unused medicines — flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash — pose potential health and safety hazards, the department said.