Approximately 676 pounds of prescription and over-the-counter medicine were collected April 24 during a four-hour take-back event held at the Rite Aid in Kelso and at Walgreen’s in Longview.
The Empowering People and Impacting Community Coalition partnered with the Longview Police Department, the Kelso Police Department, the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office and the Washington Department of Corrections to sponsor the National Drug Take-Back Day in the two cities.
“The community participation during Drug Take Back was overwhelming,” Kevin Rentner, DOC Community Corrections Supervisor and EPIC vice chairman is quoted in a prepared statement.
“People were turning in medications before we even officially began at 10 a.m. By noon we had taken back 200 pounds of prescription and over-the-counter drugs at the Longview Walgreen’s site,” he said.
“The Longview Police Department is fortunate to be able to work with the EPIC Coalition to keep these medications out of the hands of the kids,” LPD Sergeant Brian Streissguth said.
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“The event was extremely successful. We had countless people mention how thankful they were to have an opportunity to properly dispose of their prescription medications.”
EPIC focuses on preventing underage drug and alcohol use so communitywide prevention strategies like Drug Take Back is critical, Huyen Truong, Community Prevention Coordinator for the EPIC Coalition said.
“The majority of opioid misuse starts with people using medication that wasn’t prescribed for them and usually taken from a family member or friend,” he said.
Sheriff Brad Thurman said the program “is a great opportunity and a reminder for citizens to turn in unused medications that may fall into the wrong hands and perpetuate substance abuse.”
The sheriff’s office has a drop box available 24 hours a day at the Hall of Justice, Thurman said.