Drug take-back event collects more than 1,000 pounds of pills

By Patty Hastings, Columbian breaking news reporter

Published:

Updated: April 29, 2013, 9:01 PM

 

Saturday’s local prescription drug take-back event collected more than 1,000 pounds of pills — 23 percent more than last year.

During the four-hour event at Clark College’s purple parking lot and the Battle Ground Police Department, visitors dropped off 1029.8 pounds of out-of-date and unused medications.

The Clark County Sheriff’s Office hosted the event, in partnership with the PREVENT! Coalition, Clark College, the Clark County Juvenile Justice Program, Clark County Environmental Services and Vancouver Public Schools’ medical magnet program. Drug take-back events that collect narcotics, controlled substances and prescription medications, including over the counter and pet medications, aim to reduce prescription drug abuse.

An estimated 20 percent of people in the U.S. have used prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention classifying prescription drug abuse as an epidemic. Two-thirds of teens who abuse pain relievers say they get them from family members and friends, according to PREVENT!

To prevent medications from getting into local water supplies and landfills, the FDA recommends disposing of medications through take-back initiatives or law enforcement agencies. The health and environmental risks of drinking minute quantities of medications in water are unknown.

Vancouver, Ridgefield, La Center, Battle Ground, Camas and Washougal police departments accept unwanted medications during regular business hours at their facilities. The Clark County Sheriff’s Office has the oldest medicine-return program in the state, and also accepts medications during regular business hours at both precincts and at headquarters in downtown Vancouver. The medications are sent to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Tacoma office, where they’re incinerated.