Coming up on April 29 is a unique opportunity to proactively protect public health and safety. Everyone is invited to take expired or no-longer-needed prescription drugs to the Bellingham Police Department, 505 Grand Avenue, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 29 for safe and proper disposal (liquids and sharps cannot be accepted.)
The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked. It is limited residential drop-off, no business waste will be accepted. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency's (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take-Back event aims to encourage proper disposal of prescription drugs and address a vital public safety and public health issue. Since the program began, more than 7-million pounds of pills have been diverted nationally from waterways, waste streams and potential abuse. (In Bellingham alone, thanks to the Medicine Return Program, we've collected over 15,000 pounds since the program began in 2010.)
Medicines that remain in home cabinets become susceptible to misuse or abuse. Prescription drug abuse is soaring in the U.S., as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. According to the DEA, a majority of prescription drugs that are abused come from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. Also, the often-used methods for disposing of unused medicines—flushing or tossing them in the trash—pose potential safety and health hazards.
This event offers a safe 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 take their unwanted or expired household medications to:
2330 Yew Street, Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Unity Care NW Pharmacy
218 Unity Street, Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed 12:30 – 1 p.m.)
Haggen pharmacies at Barkley, Meridian and Fairhaven
2900 Woburn Street, open 24 hours
2814 Meridian Street, open 24 hours
1401 – 12th Street, open 24 hours
Prescription narcotics and other controlled substances, such as Codeine, Hydrocodone, OxyContin, Percocet, Ritalin, Vicodin and Xanax are only accepted at the Police Department, open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit www.cob.org/medreturn.
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