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Share Your Thoughts on Medicine Take-Back Plan

December 1, 2017

Public comment welcome on plan to dispose of medicines

Regulation behind medicine take-back plan expands ways for safe and convenient medicine disposal; keeps medicines from contaminating environment, poisoning children, fueling opioid epidemic.

TACOMA, Wash.—Pierce County residents will soon have more safe and convenient ways to clean out their medicine cabinets. The public can comment on the medicine take-back plan from Dec. 4 to 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 15. The plan is part of the Secure Medicine Return regulation, which aims to address the opioid epidemic, accidental poisonings, and harm to the environment.

Three ways to comment:

After the comment period ends, the Health Department will compile a summary of feedback and post it on our website. The Department will consider comments before giving final plan approval. MED-Project—which represents pharmaceutical producers and operates take-back efforts in King and Snohomish counties—will implement the plan within 90 days after approval. The public should expect to see more drop boxes and other convenient ways to dispose of unwanted medicines in spring of 2018. Read the plan at

“We look forward to implementing safe and convenient medicine return for our residents,” said Andy Comstock, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department environmental health program manager. “This comprehensive solution will protect people’s health and the environment,” he said.

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.
  • Drop-off kiosks at hospital, pharmacy, and law enforcement sites.
  • Postage-paid envelopes to mail in medicines.
  • Potential collection events.

Read more about the regulation at

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

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