On April 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Seattle Police Department precincts and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public its eighth opportunity in three years to prevent pill abuse by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. Bring your pills for disposal to a SPD precinct. (The DEA cannot accept liquids or needles or sharps, only pills or patches.) The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.
Community partners are called to publicize this event. To help with publicity, a toolkit that includes flyers and web buttons is available online.
Last October, Americans turned in 324 tons (over 647,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at over 4,114 sites operated by the DEA and its thousands of state and local law enforcement partners.
This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. During the March Prevention WINS coalition meeting, members identified home medicine cabinets as the primary way NE Seattle students who abuse these drugs get them. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines—flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash—both pose potential safety and health hazards.
Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high and prescription drug abuse rates have steadily increased among NE Seattle students since 2006.
While the King County Board of Health approved a secure medicine return program last year, the program is not up and running, yet.