Regional News

Ribbon Cutting Launches Secure Medicine Take-back Initiative

Jun 04, 2015


Republic Mayor Jim Burnside was joined by council members Larry Hemming and Elbert Koontz at the Republic Police Department today to formally recognize the launch of the secure medicine take-back program.  A handful of community members also attended the ribbon cutting ceremony, including Chamber of Commerce president Jim Milner, and Nancy and Art Morris, Republic Senior Center.

Last fall, Republic Police Chief Jan Lewis drafted a standard operating procedure to accept prescription drugs that community members no longer need as a method to help reduce unintended access by underage youth. The Pharmaceuticals Take Back Program Standard Operating Procedure was approved by City Council last October, and is now in effect. The new heavy-duty Med-Return II drug collection unit was purchased by the What’s Right? Republic Reducing Alcohol and Drug use (RRAD) Coalition as part of their Count It! Lock It! Drop It! campaign to reduce access to prescription medications by youth in the community.

Many of those attending the brief ceremony indicated they were aware of the need for a means to safely dispose of unwanted or expired medications. Chief Lewis noted that they had already collected a significant amount of medications since late March, when the box first arrived. The ribbon cutting was slated to follow the recent Rx Drug and Heroin Abuse Prevention Town Hall Meeting, also coordinated by the RRAD Coalition.

Citizens may return unwanted, unused, even expired medications to the Republic Police Department during regular business hours, effective immediately. The police department is located at 157 North Clark Avenue in Republic. Police personnel will not accept the following items: needles/syringes, thermometers, IV bags or bloody infectious waste, personal care products, Hydrogen peroxide/other chemicals, aerosol cans, used EpiPens, glass/metals, business waste, any mercury or Iodine products.

Chief Lewis underscored the importance of individuals only returning medications prescribed to them, “It’s important for people to know they need to bring in their own medications,” Lewis said. “According to the law, they can’t bring in someone else’s drugs.”

If community members have a need to secure their medications at home, the RRAD Coalition has a limited number of personal medication lock boxes available.

The establishment of a standard operating procedure by the City of Republic, the installation of a permanent drug take-back collection unit, the provision of home medication lock boxes, and the Town Hall Meeting about prescription drug abuse are just a few of the strategies used by the RRAD Coalition to promote a safe community where youth are encouraged and empowered to choose to be alcohol and drug-free to pursue their dreams and realize their full potential.  The RRAD Coalition is funded by the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, Behavioral Health and Recovery under the Community Prevention and Wellness Initiative. Anyone interested in becoming involved in the work of the coalition is invited to attend the monthly coalition meetings held the first Tuesday of each month at 11:00 a.m. at the Republic Presbyterian Church, 605 S. Keller Street or to contact Janine Koffel, Coalition Coordinator, at (509) 207-9174. Updates on coalition activities are also provided on the What’s Right? RRAD Coalition Facebook page.

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