Editorial: Get rid of your pills, chemicals

Islanders should take advantage of the pill take-back program offered this Saturday, April 30, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at three locations: The Oak Harbor Police Department, 860 SE Barrington Dr. in Oak Harbor; Coupeville Town Marshal’s Office, 4 NW Seventh St., Coupeville; and the Island County Sheriff’s South Precinct office, 5521 E. Harbor Rd., Freeland.

Sheriff Mark Brown, Oak Harbor Police Lt. John Dyer and Coupeville Marshal Dave Penrod started the program last year when people turned in 330 pounds of unwanted drugs. Benefits are several. If thrown into the trash, the drugs can end up harming the environment, either through the ground water or by running into Puget Sound. If kept at home, certain drugs, particularly narcotics, attract thieves. All drugs in those nifty little containers pique the curiosity of small children, and each year tragedies occur because of it, while teens are sometimes tempted to try whatever they find in the medicine cabinet.

Just keep the drugs you actually use and take the rest to one of the police facilities mentioned above on Saturday. Don’t flush unwanted drugs down the toilet, it’s simply a fast way to pour them into the environment. Our police officers are offering an anonymous approach to the take-back program: no questions asked.

This is an outstanding program and our police leaders should be commended for taking it on during a time when staff cutbacks are hurting everyone.

Meanwhile, citizens should take the drug hint and get rid of other dangerous stuff around the house. Call it Hazardous Materials Spring Cleaning. After dropping off your drugs at a police station, proceed to one of the county’s recycle sites in Oak Harbor, Coupeville or Bayview. They’ll take a variety of dangerous stuff at no charge, including garden and pool chemicals, paint, stains, thinners, adhesives, oil and other auto products, cleaners and solvents. All of these are dangerous to humans and the environment.

On your way home, stop at your garden or hardware  store and buy nature-friendly weed control and fertilizer products, and natural cleaning products. Stop using chemical killers dangerous to all kinds of life.

Meanwhile, make it a long-range goal to get healthier so you won’t need so many drugs.

Our environment, including Puget Sound, is getting sick from all these drugs and chemicals. It’s time that we all do something about it. Saturday, April 30, is a perfect day to start.

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