Edmonds first in county with secure medication disposal

By Brian Soergel | Aug 04, 2017
Photo by: Brian Soergel Pictured at the ribbon-cutting for the drop-off kiosk at the Edmonds police station were, from left: Councilmember Kristiana Johnson, Mayor Dave Earling, County Councilmember Stephanie Wright, Rep. Strom Peterson, Councilmember Adrienne Fraley-Monillas and the Snohomish Health District’s Jeff Ketchel.

The opioid epidemic has not spared Edmonds and south Snohomish County.

On Tuesday, Aug. 1, the city of Edmonds took a step into hopefully decreasing the number of addictions and overdoses, becoming the first in the county to debut new drop-off kiosk boxes for the safe disposal of unwanted drugs.

Present at a ribbon-cutting ceremony were Police Chief Al Compaan, Mayor Dave Earling, Councilmembers Adrienne Fraley-Monillas and Kristiana Johnson, County Councilmember Stephanie Wright, state Rep. Strom Peterson and the Snohomish Health District’s Jeff Ketchel.

Expanding access to secure medicine disposal programs is a key strategy for preventing prescription drug and heroin abuse, said Fraley-Monillas, who also is chairwoman of the Snohomish County Board of Health.

“This has been a really long process for us and the Health District, but it’s been a priority designated by the Board of Health to help us with the opioid addiction,” she said. “I’m proud we’re kicking it off in Edmonds.”

The installation comes nearly a year after the Board of Health became the eighth in the nation to adopt a countywide secure medicine return ordinance.

The pharmaceutical stewardship program operated by MED-Project will see more than 20 kiosks this month, in addition to mail-back options available for remote locations and homebound residents.

MED-Project’s new kiosks will replace the boxes previously located in many police precincts around the county.

The Snohomish County Partnership for Secure Medicine Disposal was formed in 2009, and included the Snohomish Health District, Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, Snohomish County, Snohomish Regional Drug and Gang Task Force, Washington State Patrol and local law enforcement agencies.

“The previous box in Edmonds was one of most-used boxes in the county,” Compaan said. “I think our program now under the new vendor and the Health District will be a much smoother arrangement for pickup and disposal.”

The partnership has collected and safely destroyed more than 34,000 pounds of household medicines since operations began in 2010.

“(Opioid abuse) is a countrywide, statewide and countywide epidemic,” said Peterson, an Edmonds resident who added that he’s had a family member die from a overdose.

“This will have an impact when it comes to preventing that addiction cycle where someone, especially a young person, gets ahold of pills out of their parents’ or grandparents’ medicine cabinets.”

Ketchel said the kiosks are part of a three-pronged effort to see fewer painkillers going home with people, making sure painkillers in homes are secure, and that painkillers are safely disposed of when no longer needed.

He shared a personal experience.

“My wife recently had surgery, and the physician wanted to send her home with a huge bottle of opioid painkillers. That made me realize how prevalent it is in our community, that people are going home with painkillers who may not need it, or in quantities they don’t need.”

Drug take-back kiosks in Edmonds also will be located at QFC, 22828 100th Ave. W., and Edmonds Family Pharmacy, 7315 212th St, SW.


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