The Board of Health approves a proposed secure medication return ordinance

(MOUNT VERNON)- It should be simple and convenient to dispose of old or unused prescription medication. That’s the gist of two new resolutions passed today by the Skagit County Board of Health, and the subject of a public presentation set for Monday, Feb. 5.

Similar to programs underway in Snohomish and Whatcom counties, Skagit County’s proposed secure medication return policy would require drug manufacturers to fund and operate a program to expand secure medication return sites across Skagit County – to places like retail pharmacies and hospitals or clinics with pharmacies.

“We know that roughly 70 percent of people who abuse prescription drugs get them from friends or family,” said Jennifer Johnson, Skagit County Public Health Director. “We want to safely reduce that risk – get unused medication out of medicine cabinets and out of the hands of kids or family members.”

Preventing the misuse and abuse of opioids, especially by youth, was a primary goal identified by the Skagit County Population Health Trust and Opioid Workgroup Leadership Team in 2016. Creating a safe, convenient and sustainable medicine return program with disposal sites throughout Skagit County is a key strategy in prevention. Currently, only five secure disposal sites exist, each at local law enforcement locations.

Find more information about the proposed Secure Medicine Return policy online at http://www.skagitcounty.net/medicinereturn. The community is also invited to attend a public presentation on Monday, Feb. 5, to hear directly from Public Health staff about policy details, how it will work, and what it will mean for the average resident. The presentation is set for 11 a.m. to noon in in the Skagit County Commissioners’ Hearing room, 1800 Continental Place, Mount Vernon. Watch it live on TV 21 or stream online at https://www.skagitcounty.net/Departments/TV21.

A formal public hearing on the topic is set for 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 21.