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Medicine Take-Back Plan Approved

TACOMA, Wash.—Unwanted medicines can have unintended consequences. A new medicine take-back plan makes disposal of these medicines safer and easier. Beginning in spring of 2018, Pierce County will have more secure and convenient options to dispose of unwanted medicines, protecting our communities in the process.

On Dec. 18, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department approved the medicine take-back plan from MED-Project—a representative of pharmaceutical producers that operates take-back programs in King and Snohomish counties. Before the approval, the Health Department considered feedback from a public comment period that ran from Dec. 4-15. The majority of the nine responses support expanded efforts for the safe and secure disposal of unwanted medicines.

“The plan protects public health and the environment from medicines that, under the wrong circumstances, can cause harm,” said Andy Comstock, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department environmental health program manager.

MED-Project now has 90 days to implement the plan, which will bring more drop-off kiosks to hospitals, pharmacies, and law enforcement sites across Pierce County. The public will also have the option to send back unwanted medicines with postage-paid envelopes.

In Dec. 2016, Tacoma-Pierce County Board of Health passed the Secure Medicine Return Regulation to prevent the abuse of prescription drugs like painkillers—which fuel the opioid epidemic—reduce accidental poisoning among children, and prevent harm to the environment when people flush medicines down the toilet or throw them into the garbage. The regulation requires pharmaceutical producers to fund and operate the take-back plan.

Learn more about the plan, read the public comments, and find current drop-off locations at www.tpchd.org/medicine-return.

About Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department: Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department’s mission is to protect and improve the health of all people and places in Pierce County. As part of our mission, the Health Department tackles known and emerging health risks through policy, programs and treatment in order to protect public health. We are one of only 163 accredited health departments in the country and among six in the state to have met or exceeded the Public Health Accreditation Board’s quality standards. Learn more at www.tpchd.org.

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