Law enforcement agencies in Snohomish County take part in drug take-back Sept. 25

OLYMPIA — The Drug Enforcement Administration is teaming up with area law enforcement agencies to try and prevent overdoses on prescription painkillers in Washington state.

According to the DEA, the Marysville and Arlington police departments will be collecting expired or unused medications at their locations, as will the Tulalip and Stillaguamish tribal police, on Sept. 25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

A statement released by the state Attorney General's Office blames drug overdoses for killing more Washington residents than car accidents. Painkillers such as Oxycontin and Vicodin are increasingly abused by those who mix them with other drugs and alcohol, or even crush and smoke them for a quick and sometimes deadly high. Unused or expired painkillers left in medicine cabinets are contributing to the problem.

The DEA's National Take-Back Initiative is free and anonymous.

"If you have expired or unused drugs, we're asking you to bring them in for proper disposal, no questions asked," said Mark Thomas, DEA acting special agent in charge. "Taking a few minutes to visit a drop-off point in your neighborhood will greatly reduce the availability of diverted prescription drugs and increase community public safety."

In 1995, the lives of 23 Washingtonians were lost due to accidental overdoses involving prescription drugs. In 2008, more than 500 people died.

"Most people are surprised to hear that a plastic bottle with their doctor's name on it can contain something which is deadly when misused," Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna said. "But the word is out about certain prescription drugs. Chronic drug users want them. Teenagers trade, mix and consume them. We've even seen stay-at-home moms get hooked and overdose. It’s a full-blown crisis."

Those with unused or expired medications may check and search by address or zip code to find the closest collection site. All locations will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Local collection points include:

• Marysville Police Department at 1635 Grove St. in Marysville.

• Tulalip Tribal Police at 6103 31st Ave. NE in Tulalip.

• Arlington Police Department at 110 E. Third St. in Arlington.

• Stillaguamish Tribal Police at 22714 Sixth Ave. NE in Arlington.

• Snohomish County Sheriff's Office North Precinct at 15100 40th Ave. NE in Marysville.

• Washington State Patrol at 2700 116th St. NE in Marysville.

Arlington Police Cmdr. Brian DeWitt noted that the front door of their police station would be open, even though it's usually closed on weekends.

"It's safe for the environment and safe for the kids," DeWitt said. "It gets drugs that are no longer in use out of people's houses."

Tulalip Tribal Police Deputy Chief Carlos Echevarria agreed that such medications could become pollutants if left idle, and deemed the take-back a means of protecting families.

"Rather than letting these drugs fall into the wrong hands, such as those of children, it ensures that they can no longer be misused," Echevarria said.

State Attorney General's Office personnel will be on hand at several take-back locations in order to promote the safe disposal and storage of prescription drugs. They'll urge consumers to check, lock and properly dispose of prescription drugs throughout the year.

View National drug take-back location in a larger map

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