Olympia now has box for old medicine

OLYMPIA – Residents can place old prescription medications in a drop box that recently was placed outside the district court building on Lakeridge Drive, keeping the drugs out of the hands of potential abusers.

Medications left in the metal box will be incinerated at a business used as an evidence-disposal site by the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office, Chief Criminal Deputy James Chamberlain said.

The box gives people a more environmentally friendly option than flushing unused medications down the toilet or throwing them away, county officials said. Those disposal methods can result in drugs leaching into the soil and winding up in groundwater.

It’s unwise to let expired or unused prescription medications sit in medicine cabinets, said Sherri McDonald, the director of Thurston County Public Health and Social Services.

Family members or acquaintances can easily take medications from unlocked cabinets and use them recreationally or sell them, she said.

McDonald said prescription-drug abuse can lead to addiction or even death. Prescription medications that are used for pain relief, such as Vicodin, oxycodone or codeine, are among those that often are used recreationally.

Lacey police Lt. Loreli Thompson, the head of the Thurston County Narcotics Task Force, said the drop box is a great idea. She said most children who abuse or sell prescription medications get them from their parents’ medicine cabinets.

“It’s awesome,” Thompson said of the box. “The misuse of prescription pills is a big problem.”

Chamberlain said the box is secured to the ground and has a surveillance camera trained on it to deter would-be thieves.

Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5465