Every year, Virginia Mason invites the community to participate in an important public safety effort through our Drug Takeback Event. The most recent event, held in late 2020, was part of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) efforts to safely collect and dispose of unused or expired medications. These substances are a public safety issue and failing to properly dispose of them can lead to accidental poisoning, misuse and overdose.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has noted a worrisome increase in drug-related deaths over the past year — making proper disposal of controlled substances more important than ever.
Volunteers from Virginia Mason facilitated the event held at Federal Way Medical Center. Funds from the Virginia Mason Foundation covered event marketing and advertising to maximize reach and additional security to ensure the safety and protection of controlled substances.
"Since this event has been so well supported and received the past couple of years, we were really glad the DEA had a pandemic protocol and was able to help us pivot to ensure that community members and volunteers could participate safely," says event director and anesthesiologist Julie Vath, MD.
This year's event had "no-touch" drop off locations where community members were asked to drive up to the donation center, place their donations appropriately and drive away. Gloved volunteers then carefully collected medications and placed them in DEA-issued safe disposal containers.
"The Virginia Mason Foundation is proud to support this crucial public safety event and positively impact our communities by helping collect and safely dispose of hundreds of pounds of unused or expired medications — and we couldn't do that without our generous donors," says Jeanne Jachim, Virginia Mason Foundation President.