Medicines help treat diseases, manage chronic conditions, and improve health and well-being for millions of Americans. But, with two-thirds of prescribed medications going unused, the amount of medicine accumulating in households is substantial — and dangerous.
Unused medicines left in the home increase opportunities for drug abuse. More than half of people 12 or older who used pain relievers nonmedically report getting the drug from a friend or relative for free. Safely disposing of unused medications and reducing access could also lead to lower overdose death rates.
Proper drug disposal isn’t just a safety issue, it’s also an environmental issue. Unused medications should not be flushed down the toilet or put in the trash, as the medications can contaminate water systems.
Clark County Public Health is teaming up with the nonprofit Medication Education & Disposal Project (MED-Project) to provide free disposal of expired, unwanted, or unused medicine safely and conveniently.
MED-Project provides residents with convenient, year-round medicine drop-off locations, such as pharmacies, medical facilities, and law enforcement offices. In addition to its existing operational programs in several Washington counties, MED-Project has activated more than 150 additional drop-off sites across the state and has plans to add more sites.
The sites accept controlled and non-controlled medications in any dosage form in their original container or a sealed bag. Sites do not accept herbal remedies, vitamins, supplements, mercury-containing thermometers, sharps, illicit drugs, or pet pesticide products.
In Clark County, there are 12 drop-off sites residents can visit during business hours to dispose of unwanted medicine:
- Battle Ground Police Department, 507 SW First St., Battle Ground
- Hi-School Pharmacy, 1365 Lewis River Road, Woodland
- Hi-School Pharmacy, 3200 NE 52nd St., Vancouver
- Kaiser Permanente Cascade Park Pharmacy, 12607 SE Mill Plain Blvd., Vancouver
- Kaiser Permanente Orchards Pharmacy, 7101 NE 137th Ave., Vancouver
- Kaiser Permanente Salmon Creek Pharmacy, 14406 NE 20th Ave., Vancouver
- QFC Pharmacy, 3505 SE 192nd Ave., Vancouver
- Ridgefield Police Department, 116 N Main Ave., Ridgefield
- Rite Aid Pharmacy, 2800 NE 162nd Ave., Vancouver
- Rite Aid Pharmacy, 13511 SE Third Way, Vancouver
- Washougal Police Department, 1320 A St., Washougal
- Woodland Police Department, 200 E Scott Ave., Woodland
People who would prefer mailing back unwanted medicine for disposal can request free, pre-paid, pre-authorized packages by visiting med-project.org/washington or by calling 844.633.7765.
“Proper disposal of unwanted medications protects the health and safety of our community and the environment,” said Janis Koch, Clark County Environmental Public Health director. “These new disposal sites make it more convenient for Clark County residents to safely dispose of medicine they no longer need.”
Visit the MED-Project website or call 844.633.7765 for drop-off site hours, medicines accepted for disposal, instructions for disposal and safe medicine storage information.