Skagit County Public Health’s Secure Medicine Return through MED Project lets you safely dispose of medications any time.

Skagit County Public Health’s Secure Medicine Return through MED Project lets you safely dispose of medications any time.

Multi-pronged prevention measures target opioid crisis

How you can help prevent opioid misuse in your home and community

When it comes to the misuse of opioids and other substances, prevention is the medicine.

Skagit County Public Health is taking that message to residents, to schools and to the community as part of a multi-pronged approach to the current opioid crisis.

For example, while Drug Take-Back Day Oct. 26 is one way to safely return unused medications, Skagit County’s Secure Medicine Return through MED Project lets you safely dispose of medications any time.

Why is that important?

  • The home medicine cabinet is one of the most common places people go when looking for drugs to get high.
  • Many young children are accidentally poisoned by taking medicine not intended for them.
  • Medicines flushed down the toilet or thrown in the trash pollutes local waters and soil.

“Such a high proportion of people who come to have opioid addiction start with ready access to prescription medication,” explains Polly Dubbel, Communicable Disease and Environmental Health Program Manager.

Secure lockup for medications

Because data shows most people first gain improper access to medications at home, securing medications is vital. The County offers free medication lock boxes and bags to make it easier for residents to keep prescriptions away from those they weren’t intended for, including children and teens, their friends, and others.

“We encourage people to change how they think about prescriptions,” says Danica Sessions, Community Health Coordinator. “Let’s have these conversations early on with your kids and take precautions.”

Safe and easy return

Skagit County’s Secure Medicine Return allows residents to safely dispose of unneeded medicines for free by taking them to secure drop boxes, ordering free mail-back envelopes and/or picking up mail-back envelopes from convenient mailer distribution locations.

Accepted medications include prescription and over-the-counter medicines, brand name and generic medicines, controlled substances and pet medications; remove or black out personal and identifying information from labels before disposal.

Drop boxes: To find nearby MED Project safe disposal locations, enter your zipcode at med-project.org or call 1-844 MED-PROJECT (1-844-633-7765). Ten kiosks are currently available with more on the way.

Mailers: You can also order pre-paid, pre-addressed MED Project mailers through the contacts above. Standard Mailer Envelopes are for medicines in pill, powder, paste, liquid and patch forms. Injector Mailer Packages are for pre-filled products containing a sharp and auto-injectors (like expired Epi Pens). Mailers are also available at a wide variety of community locations such as libraries, community (Senior) centers, municipal buildings and some fire departments. The listing is also available at the Med-project website.

Community-wide discussions

What these initiatives point to is that prevention is key, but so is continued discussion and education about opioid use disorder and the stigma that accompanies it.

“This is a chronic, relapsing disease. It can happen quickly and it can happen to any of us,” says Kristen Ekstran, Community Health Analyst. “The more community understanding there is, the less stigma there will be, and people will find it easier to seek the help they need.”

In schools, prevention starts with the youngest grades, where programs help build resilient youth with strong, healthy coping mechanisms. In older years, a multi-pronged approach includes broad-based education, smaller group opportunities, referrals and intervention. The County is also piloting a multi-tiered mental health initiative within all seven school districts, which will greatly increase supports available for students and families.

Working with seniors, the County shares information about the safe storage and mailer bags, as well as mental health, recognizing the strong link between mental health and substance use.

Skagit County’s Public Health team, local Prevention Coalitions, or the Opioid Workgroup Leadership Team can come speak to businesses, workplaces and community organizations about opioid use, treatments and prevention – contact them today through Kristen Ekstran, kekstran@co.skagit.wa.us.

More in Marketplace

Zsofia Pasztor, founder of Woodinville-based non-profit Farmer Frog, is a certified horticulturist, arborist and landscape designer who helps build community and family gardens, starting from a foundation of Cedar Grove soil and compost.
Family gardening can be fun and fruitful!

Cedar Grove soils can help you get the most out of your home planting season

Find beauty right in your garden this spring!
Find beauty right in your garden this spring!

With contactless delivery options, Cedar Grove helps you get in your garden this spring

Using compost to create a yard to be proud of
Using compost to create a yard to be proud of

Cedar Grove helps create a healthy, green lawn, fertile garden beds without fertilizers, pesticides

Bail can be a motivator for positive change
Bail can be a motivator for positive change

All City Bail Bonds works closely with defendants and their families following an arrest

The Remedy Tulalip budtenders have lots of great ideas for Valentine’s Day. Stop by the store to catch great love-bird specials!
Love potions and romance remedies!

This Valentine’s Day, spice things up with green flowers and adults-only chocolate

Keeping communities safe: Snohomish County planning for disaster
Keeping communities safe: Snohomish County planning for disaster

Updated Hazard Mitigation Plan identifies prevention projects as county grows, changes

Big cash discounts remain for wood stove replacement
Big cash discounts remain for wood stove replacement

Marysville fireplace dealers helping extend Clean Air program in Snohomish County

Self-care takes many forms in Snohomish County
Self-care takes many forms in Snohomish County

Many area residents turn to cannabis products for help with anxiety, stress

5 reasons to put YOU at the top of your to-do list
5 reasons to put YOU at the top of your to-do list

Caring for ourselves is key this time of year

Discover the power of healthy living – naturally!
Discover the power of healthy living – naturally!

Free education nights explore benefits of CBD

Civility is Still Alive and Well in Our Courts
Civility is Still Alive and Well in Our Courts

Perhaps no one would argue with the fact that our public discourse… Continue reading

Multi-pronged prevention measures target opioid crisis
Multi-pronged prevention measures target opioid crisis

How you can help prevent opioid misuse in your home and community