It comes nowhere close to the costs of addiction but big drug companies are funding a small program in King County to put “secure medicine return” boxes in locations where it easier for residents to get rid of unwanted pharmaceuticals.
Officials were on hand last week at the Broadway Market QFC to announce the program and show off one of the new drop box locations.
“Working on secure medicine return, I’ve truly seen the community spirit here in King County. These drop boxes are run by volunteers. All of the locations have volunteered to have drop boxes. And the program is supported and operated by drug producers whose medications are sold in King County,” King County Council member Joe McDermott said Thursday morning with the soft rock of the QFC sound system and beeps from the nearby checkouts in the background. “I look forward to the success of this producer supported program.”
A map of medicine return boxes around the county is below. You can also find drop sites at the Country Doctor clinic on 19th Ave E and at the Capitol Hill Group Health campus.
According to officials, drug overdoses have surpassed car crashes as a leading cause of death in the King County.
Participating stores, pharmacies, clinics, hospitals, and law enforcement offices will accept most prescription and over-the-counter medicines for disposal. Mail-back envelopes are also available for residents who are homebound or have limited mobility.
McDermott said around a third of all prescription medicines go unused in the county. The ready availability of sometimes powerful medications is a major contributor to addiction issues around Capitol Hill.
“Capitol Hill is kind of the home to everything. You see methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, and prescription opiates,” UW researcher Dr. Caleb Banta-Green told CHS in 2014 as the neighborhood was identified as an “overdose hub” in the city. “You have a lot of mortality there.”
The City of Seattle and King County, meanwhile, are moving forward on the creation of two safe consumption sites.