Drug take-back event results in collection of 4,683 pounds of medications

Organizers say 1,451 people turned over unused and unwanted medications last Saturday in Clark and Skamania counties

CLARK COUNTY — In a significant increase from last year, residents of Clark and Skamania counties turned in a total of 4,683 pounds of unused and unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medications at five locations during a drug take-back event last Saturday.

A steady stream of vehicles lined up to hand over the medications to law enforcement officers, pharmacists and community volunteers. In all, 1,451 residents disposed of medication through the event.

Kris Soske holds signs at the Battle Ground Police Department for the Drug Take Back event. Photo provided by Educational Service District 112
Kris Soske holds signs at the Battle Ground Police Department for the Drug Take Back event. Photo provided by Educational Service District 112

All of the drugs were weighed and secured for transportation to the Drug Enforcement Administration, which will incinerate the substances.

The total collected surpassed what was turned over in 2017 when 3,549 pounds of medication was handed in by 1,321 participants, according to a press release from Educational Service District 112.

Cascade Park Kaiser Permanente was the busiest of five locations in the two counties Saturday, with 657 participants bringing 1,923 pounds of pills and 900 pounds of needles and other sharp instruments.

In announcing this year’s totals, ESD 112 noted that the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that 6.4 million Americans abused prescription drugs and that a majority of those drugs were obtained from family and friends, “often from the home medicine cabinet.”

The drug take-back events are held twice each year in April and October. According to a press release, the events are part of a community partnership that includes Clark County Public Health, Kaiser Permanente, the PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center, the Battle Ground Police Department, the La Center Police Department, the Ridgefield Police Department, the Vancouver Police Department, the Washougal Police Department, Washougal Silver Star Search and Rescue, the Skamania County Sheriff’s Office, Walgreens, Connect Evergreen, La Center United, Prevent Coalition, Prevent Together: Battle Ground Prevention Alliance, Unite! Washougal Community Coalition, Connect Evergreen, West Van for Youth, and the U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration.

“Prevent Coalition would like to thank PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center, Battle Ground Police Department, Kaiser Permanente Cascade Park, Skamania County Sheriff’s Office and Washougal Silver Star Search and Rescue for hosting the five event sites,” according to the press release.

Unwanted medications also can be disposed of year-round at several collection sites across Clark and Skamania counties. Visit www.ClarkGreenNeighbors.org/meds for more details on where to drop off medications.

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