Pill take back program celebrates one year

From left: Jon Bernhoft, a pharmicist with Olympic Medical Center, Amanda Dickinson, with Frick Rexall Drug, Joe Cammack, owner of Jim’s Pharmacy, and Dave Hull, evidence manager with the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office, each old a box containing prescription medication as part of the Clallam County Prescription Drug Return Program. The program is celebrating its first anniversary this week.

The Clallam County Prescription Drug Return Program celebrates its one year anniversary this week with an estimated 1,000 pounds of unused prescription drugs ready to be destroyed in Spokane.

Clallam County Sheriff Bill Benedict said 50 boxes of unused controlled scheduled drugs, including narcotics and other habit-forming medications, were already collected in the spring and destroyed through the program.

The sheriff’s office partnered with Jim’s Pharmacy in Port Angeles and Frick Rexall Drug in Sequim to provide residents with a place to return unused prescription medications.

“The Department of Ecology did a water quality analysis 10 years ago and found traces of 23 different pharmecuticals,” said Jon Bernhoft, a pharmacist with Olympic Medical Center.

Bernhoft said people used to be instructed by pharmacists to flush unused pills down the toilet but now they know better. Aside from flushing, people also should not throw pills away or take them to a landfill, he said.

To keep unused pills out of the hands of children or people who want to use them illegally, they should be dropped to a location participating in the program where the pills can be taken to the state’s incinerator in Spokane and destroyed, he said.

Benedict said the program has been very successful and other communites have adopted similar programs using Clallam County’s protocol.

Residents can return unused controlled scheduled drugs at the following times and places:
• Clallam County Sheriff’s Office, 223 E. Fourth St., Port Angeles, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday
• Frick Rexall Drug, 609 W. Washington St., Sequim, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday
• Jim’s Pharmacy, 424 E. Second St., Port Angeles, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday; 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday; noon-4 p.m. Sunday

For more information the program call the sheriff’s office at 374-5324.

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