Residents can take their unwanted or expired prescription drugs to the Bellingham Police Department on from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 30 for safe and proper disposal. Ferndale Police Department and Lummi Nation Police Department are also participating. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency's (DEA) 11th National Prescription Drug Take-Back event encourages residents to properly dispose of prescription drugs. Since the program began, more than 5.5 million pounds of pills have been diverted from waterways, waste streams and potential abuse. The National Prescription Drug Take-Back program addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Unused medicines left in home cabinets are available for misuse or abuse. According to the DEA, many abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg says the risk is real.
“Four out of five new heroin users start with prescription medications,” said Rosenberg. “Approximately 46,000 Americans die each year from drug-related deaths; more than half of those are from heroin and prescription opioids.”
There are other risks of not disposing of medications properly. When unused medicine is flushed down the toilet or thrown away, it creates potential safety and health hazards. This event offers a safe and secure alternative – collecting unwanted medicine, keeping it out of the wrong hands, reducing the potential for poisoning and unintended overdose, and protecting our waterways.
Safe and secure medicine disposal is also available year-round through the City of Bellingham's Medicine Return Program. Residents may bring their unwanted or expired household medications to five Bellingham pharmacies:
- Hoagland Pharmacy: 2330 Yew St; Mon-Fri 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sat 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Unity Care NW Pharmacy: 218 Unity St; Mon-Fri 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sat 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1-5 p.m.
- Haggen pharmacies: open 24/7 at Barkley, 2900 Woburn St; 2814 Meridian St; and 1401 12th St. in Fairhaven.
Prescription narcotics and other controlled substances are only accepted at the Bellingham Police Department during regular office hours. For more information about the City's program, go to www.cob.org/medreturn.