King County passes new prescription drug take-back law

King County will begin a new program for taking back prescription drugs after the Board of Health passed a new law on Thursday, June 20.

Residents in the county will be able to dispose of unwanted medicines at pharmacies and other locations at no charge. The program will be funded by drug manufacturers.

"Today's vote makes us the second jurisdiction in the nation to provide a safe and convenient way for residents to get rid of their unneeded medicines. I am proud of my fellow board members for passing this historic Rule & Regulation," said Board of Health Chair Joe McDermott. "The Board took strong action today to close a gap in the comprehensive response to misuse and abuse of medicines."

In King County, more people die of prescription drug overdoses than from heroin or cocaine combined.

Medicine collected will be destroyed by incineration at permitted facilities, and drug manufacturers selling medicines for use by King County residents will be required to run and pay for the program. Seattle and King County Public Health will oversee the program.

No date has yet been set for the program to begin.

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