Area groups to collect unwanted meds, offer lock boxes

In Washington state, 7 percent of teens are misusing prescription drugs not prescribed to them

VANCOUVER — The No. 1 reason youth misuse prescription drugs is that they are easy to get — often from family and friends’ medicine cabinets. In Washington state, 7 percent of teens are misusing prescription drugs not prescribed to them, according to the 2018 Washington Healthy Youth Survey.

That’s why nearly three dozen local community groups are taking action — hosting free Drug Take-Back events and raising awareness that “Locks Save Lives.’’

On Sat., April 27, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., residents of three Southwest Washington counties can safely dispose of all unused and leftover prescription and over-the-counter medications at eight Drug Take-Back Event locations. Plus, some participants will have the opportunity to receive a free lock box.

Locks Save Lives

To encourage people to lock up their prescription medications, the community groups are giving away free lock boxes to the first 200 qualified people at two Drug Take-Back Event locations — PeaceHealth Southwest Urgent Care and Battle Ground Police Department. Individuals can take a survey to determine if they qualify for a lock box at

For more information about the event, contact Clark County Public Health at (564) 397-7352 or the Prevent Coalition at, or see the event page at

Did you know … ?

  • Prescription opioids are a growing cause of overdose. Only 29 percent of families with children age 18 and younger report storing medications safely in the home, in a latched or locked location, according to a 2017 study by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
  • Medications can contaminate drinking water and should not be flushed down the toilet or put in the trash. Drug Take-Back events and programs dispose of medications properly and safely through the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).  Find year-round take-back locations near you at www.takebackyourmeds.orgfor safe and free medication disposal.

Drug Take-Back Event locations

  • Clark County:
    • PeaceHealth Southwest Urgent Care, 33rd & Main (S. Back Lot), Vancouver (accepting Sharps and syringes) (offering lock boxes to qualified recipients)
    • Kaiser Permanente Cascade Park, 12607 SE Mill Plain Blvd., Vancouver (accepting Sharps and syringes)
    • Battle Ground Police Department, 507 SW 1st St., Battle Ground (offering free lock boxes to qualified recipients)
    • Washougal Silver Star Search & Rescue, 1220 A St., Washougal
    • Cowlitz Public Safety Department, 31501 NW 31st Ave., Ridgefield (I-5 Exit 16, south of Ilani Casino)

Please note: Sharps and syringes will be accepted only at Kaiser Permanente Cascade Park and PeaceHealth Southwest Urgent Care.

For information on how to transport Sharps and additional event details, please visit the event page at

Community partners

The Drug Take-Back events started in 2010 with one Clark County site. This year’s eight-site event is funded in partnership with Washington Health Care Authority and organized with assistance from the following community partners:  

  • Clark County Public Health
  • Clark County Green Neighbors
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • PeaceHealth
  • Battle Ground Police Department
  • Vancouver Police Department
  • Washougal Police Department
  • La Center Police Department
  • Ridgefield Police Department
  • Washougal Silver Star Search and Rescue
  • Skyline Hospital
  • Klickitat County Courthouse
  • Bingen-White Salmon Police Department
  • Skamania County Sheriff’s Office
  • Goldendale Police Department
  • Walgreens
  • Connect Evergreen
  • La Center United
  • Prevent Coalition
  • Prevent Together: Battle Ground Prevention Alliance
  • Unite! Washougal Community Coalition
  • Connect Evergreen
  • West Van for Youth
  • One Prevention Alliance
  • Our Klickitat Coalition
  • U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration

Plus, new community partners:

  • Americorps
  • Clark College ACES Club
  • Cowlitz Public Safety Department
  • Southwest Washington Accountable Communities of Health
  • Klickitat Valley Health

Information provided by ESD 112.

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